The Fight Against Breast Cancer Is A Personal One For Us
I lost my mother at the age of 19 to breast cancer. She was first diagnosed with this disease in her early 30’s when she had a 7-year old (me), a 3-year old and a 2- year old. At that time, doctors told her she only had a 10% chance to live. Now myself, a mother of 2, I cannot imagine the thoughts that ran though this young mother’s mind as her doctor disclosed her diagnosis. But she declared, “not now, I’m not ready to leave my babies yet” and went onto fight this ugly disease for almost 12 years before it took her last breath. It gives you a glimpse of what kind of woman she was.
Needless to say, our family never had a normal upbringing. We saw my mom in and out of the hospital, watched her suffering through so much pain and having days where she was not her energetic and ebullient self. Through the numerous chemotherapy and radiation treatments she mustered the energy to make us home cooked meals, pack our lunches and pick us up from school. She did not take one single day for granted. I have memories of her sending me off to a school by picking a single jasmine flower to put in my pocket to cheer up my day. I would hold on to it allowing the scent to permeate my senses throughout the day as it would bring a smile to my face. Each night she would come to our rooms and make sure she told us how much love was in her heart for us before we went to sleep, till the day she passed. She was always overflowing with love. It breaks my heart that she did not have the chance to witness some of the most important parts of our lives — birthdays, graduating from college, my first job, getting married, seeing my children.
My mother was a fearless, strong, incredibly intelligent, and independent woman. She left her homeland India and landed in America with only $7 in her pocket when she was 28 years old. She was a nurse and loved what she did sacrificing many of her own needs so that we can have everything. As many immigrants, she did not shy away from hard work. It is how she built a comfortable life for us. I admired her, I cherished her and I enjoyed my moments with her. My mother was my everything. So when I lost her, my world shattered as did my heart. However, through all this, I am who I am because of her. In fact, she is a huge inspirational source behind taila and what led me to create natural products from a healing tradition that honors individual beauty.
I share all this because it is important for me to bring awareness around how breast cancer can affect women of all ages. Back when my mother was diagnosed there wasn’t much information or support available like there is today and those resources could have made a world of difference for her. Preventive measures, community and education is the only way to be able to surpass the devastation breast cancer causes. Many of us believe we will never become part of the statistics, I really wish that were the case.
My mother’s family had no history of breast cancer and somehow it infiltrated her. Now both my sister and I am considered a high-risk. What people don’t realize is that one in every 251 women currently aged 30 will be diagnosed with breast cancer within the next 10 years. You are high risk if you come from a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer or a relative diagnosed at a young age with breast cancer. This is why it is crucial to do self- breast examinations at least once a month and familiarize yourself with your body. Most mammograms are not covered by insurance for women under the age of 40. Besides, mammograms are not the most reliable exam in detecting any abnormalities in this age group due to women’s breast tissues being denser at that age.
I will forever carry this experience with me, and it seeps into everything I do. My wish is to amplify community around this cause and provide support in every way possible. This is why I am strongly advocating for bringing about awareness. This month we are donating 15% of all of our retail sales to the Young Survival Coalition, a not for profit that helps educate and support young women facing breast cancer. A mission very near and dear to my heart, please join us in working together to make a difference.
If you or someone you know has been affected by breast cancer, I encourage you to reach out and share your story. You do not have to go through the unthinkable alone.
Love + Light,