At 35 years old, I was faced with my biggest challenge: lymphoma.
After visiting the doctor for facial swelling in late January 2015, I was admitted to the hospital with Superior Vena Cava Syndrome due to a grapefruit-sized tumor in my chest causing 100% blockage of my Vena Cava (2nd largest blood vessel) and cutting off oxygen to my brain.
The tumor was wrapped around the upper ventricles of my heart, filling the spaces between my esophagus and major blood vessels in such a way that it was extremely complicated and risky to attempt to remove it - I did however get a pretty cool neck scar from the biopsy to test for cancer cells - one of my few externally visible signs of my battle.
I immediately began treatment for advanced stage lymphoma at UCSF to shrink the tumor and eradicate the cancer that was lighting up all of my scans and sending the hospital workers into a frenzy. I had some rough days but the gifts that cancer brought were well worth the struggle. When my hair began to fall out, my 10 year old son asked if he could braid it for me. I of course, said yes. And when it came time to let go of the hope that I could keep my hair, I threw a party, drank champagne and marched on. Some of my dear supporters shaved their heads alongside me, including my number one advocate, my son. He rocked the whole thing with me from start to finish, in May, when I received my negative test results, and beyond -being patient while I worked back up to feeling like me again. I am proud of how he handled it with such grace and we have both used the opportunity to grow ourselves into better versions.
I have conquered many things in my life and I am proud of my dent in the universe. Among what I am most grateful for is that my cancer brought to light the many individuals that I have influenced over the years and the impact that I have had on the world through inspiring others to realize their own potential through my work at DRIVE Human Capital, LLC. The support I received and outpouring of love has been truly inspiring and gave me faith that this is all part of a bigger picture and I am but one small piece of the puzzle. I tried to use the "what can I do to help?" question that I received so often, to spread that feeling of love and support that showed up in a force that was quite unexpected.
I asked that what others do for me is to make a positive impact on the world around them, to live louder, commit, do the thing that they have always wanted, but scares them a little or maybe scares them a lot, to roll the dice, to really care and to contribute, not to be afraid of failure or rejection or anything really because we all are living on borrowed time and are here to do something of merit - anything of merit. I asked for help to keep DRIVE alive because it is not about living forever, it is about creating something that will and DRIVE is my something.I want nothing more than for DRIVE to live on even when I don't, to change lives forever.