I have always loved music. Not just loved it, I actually went to college for musical theater performance (but after a year I changed to Biomedical Science and Chemistry). I've spent most of my life singing, dancing, and playing piano, so music was and is ingrained into my being. I've sang on stage, radio, and television and I have to say it was part of my identity; singing was the one thing I was absolutely sure I was good at and funny, singing is what saved my life in a way. Around the holidays 2007 I was singing quite a bit but my voice was not cooperating. I wasn't reaching notes I usually could and I suffered from a sore throat I could not get rid of for months. While rubbing my neck after a performance I felt a lump and thus started my cancer journey. During that first cancer surgery in early 2008, the nerve that helps operate one of my vocal cords was cut leaving my right vocal cord paralyzed forever. What happens when you can no longer do something you loved? Ten years later my left arm and hand are mostly numb from all of my surgeries and external beam radiation so now, piano is out too.
Cancer is a series of gains and losses. I've heard some cancer survivors describe having cancer as a blessing...I wouldn't exactly go there. I have lost my song and dance, the part of me that helped me express myself and what I thought I was born to do. I have lost precious tears grieving that loss and searching for God's purpose for me. But what have I gained? I gained a new appreciation of time and how precious it is. I've gained a more determined and purposeful heart; one that gets to decide how I want to spend my time and with whom. I've gained a new perspective that sees beauty in the simplest of things and I've gained a new voice. It's my voice in these words and because of cancer, it's even stronger than before. Yes, I had to grieve the loss of some of my old dreams but I have gained the vision to pursue new ones...like this lipstick. Creating this brand has been more than a dream come true. It is the culmination of the good, bad, and ugly and the ultimate promise of new beginnings. 'You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'~Eleanor Roosevelt