what's your story

a while back we launched our monogram collection.  the best part is learning all the stories behind each of these pieces of jewelry.  celebrations of life lived and lost, of loved ones so very cherished, of goals met and being pursued.  so inspiring to be a part of all these women's stories.

one such story belongs to my dear dear friend Lecia.  We met in college and have walked through so many major life events together.

surprising her, bright and early, on her birthday {probably like 10am}

this picture totally captures this moment so well.  Lecia is cool and collected, I am TRYING to be as we pose next to my major-crush-whom-I-can't-even-bring-myself-to-get-close-to-I'm-so-nervous-now-husband.  and yes we are seniors in college {not high school}.

coffee date with auntie Leesh

Lecia is the reason behind the vintage pink bead in the monogram collection.  among many things - a lover of vintage, magazine journalist, total goofball, fashionista, loyal friend, she is a survivor of breast cancer and a huge inspiration to my life.  I vividly remember getting her call and the news.

this is {a small part of} her story,

I was as healthy as one could be at 26 years old-- I pirouetted my way through at least 10 hours of ballet a week and precisely chose from a vegetarian menu both at restaurants and at home. While browsing for a birthday gift in-between film auditions on the 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica, California, my 1960’s pink and yellow sundress kept catching the breeze off the Pacific not two blocks away. Desperately trying to gain control of my skirt’s desire to fly, I wasn’t able to find my cell until after the third ring. A call from a doctor who had just promised me the day before that the lump I felt in my breast would turn out to be nothing more than a cyst. After all, I was young…and free from family history.

The conversation was one-sided. He spoke; I half listened as giggling girls with their lattes looped around me to get to their next shopping destination. All I heard my doctor say was that I had breast cancer, it was aggressive and surgery was urgent. Anything else he uttered hit deaf ears which caused me to click “end call” before he could wish me luck I obviously didn‘t have.

Within a couple of days I was living with family friends in the bay area. My brain felt like it had been held up to an ice pack for hours. Numb and unfeeling. Entering surgery had me neither frightened nor anxious. It just was something that was happening to someone who bore a chilling resemblance to me. Nothing was real. From the moment I was given the diagnosis to the moment I woke up to a crying surgeon that told me I had cancerous lymph nodes and my life would be over in a year to the sessions of chemotherapy I had with my Panama-born male nurse who repeatedly asked a dying girl out to dinner to the sight of a trash can filled with my lost hair to the mornings of radiation where my skin was being barbequed. Nothing about it seemed real until it was over…and I was still alive.

Somehow through experimental drugs, the love of family and friends, the mercy of God and the choice to explore avenues of myself that I hadn’t previously taken time to do, I was able to keep a heart beat. I started out my new chance with a craving for knowledge and adventure--went back to school, became a UCLA graduate, explored Europe, Africa and South America and fascinated myself with the cultures of each. Eventually, however, the adventure seeker who had to “live life to the fullest” and be grateful that she was alive at all times wore thin. As appreciative as I was for my life, I couldn’t continue to feel like I wasn’t allowed to be a real person with varying moods and complexities and always on display as “the girl with cancer.”  I had to find my way back to real life without losing the emotionally positive changes that had occurred within. Once I rid myself of the anxiety that I didn’t have time on my side and could relax into being me with goals for a future, my life developed into an existence covered in peace. Because of the cancer I went through, I was able to open myself up to the unexpected. A willingness to jump at opportunities or take paths that were not part of a prior plan lead me into an unforeseen career as a writer. For this change in perspective and for the excitement I now have in what awaits me, I will always be grateful for cancer.

for the month of October, we will donate 5$ for each piece of monogram collection jewelry purchased to breast cancer research.  or if you want to do more, you can donate here.

also - do your self-breast exams, Lecia was 26 when she found her lump.  here is a great reference for the correct way, you can even sign up for monthly reminders. 

happy monday.


1 comment:

  1. Stopping by from Casey Leigh's blog. Wow, what a story. She is absolutely gorgeous. I'm so glad for her positive outcome and that you still have your dear friend with you.