Hi all, Danielle here! I’m the taudrey lovin’ #taudsquad member who answers to "D" and heads creative direction and communications.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a pretty special month for us. As an all-female team focused on empowering women and celebrating life moments through meaningfully personalized jewelry, every fall, we're honored to support efforts focused on something that affects so many women.
About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer. As of January 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. (BreastCancer.org)
But this year, things got a little more personal.
In February of 2019, my mom, Yvonne, was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.
If you know Yvonne, and you may because she knows everyone, you know how much of a unicorn she is. She's beyond beautiful and has a laugh that can be heard for miles. She wears a white-collared shirt like no one else and has a way about her that captivates and leaves a mark. She's someone you don't forget. And during a self examination in January, she discovered a lump in her right breast.
It wasn't until the day of her biopsy that I found out about THE LUMP. She didn’t want to tell me right away as I was struggling with an uptick in anxiety. I actually had a full on panic attack that morning. It was as if my body already knew.
On that day, my husband said the words, “they found a lump in your mother’s breast.” I was sitting on our couch. He was facing me, the sunlight from our balcony window hitting his face, now unrecognizable with concern. The world paused. Time stopped. It felt as if someone punched me in the stomach. My body turned to bricks. I crouched over and cried. I cried for my mom, and my sisters, and my niece and nephews. I cried for the fear I knew my mom was experiencing. I cried because a cancer statistic had made its way inside my apartment. And I cried for all those affected by cancer.
On Valentine’s Day, we learned “THE LUMP” was indeed cancer.
But I’m endlessly grateful that my mom’s prognosis is great. Her cancer was caught early and thankfully, treatment for her type of cancer has favorable success rates.
During her lumpectomy procedure in July, we did unfortunately learn that certain lymph nodes (tested mid surgery) featured positive results. A chunk of lymph nodes had to be removed, which puts her at risk for lymphedema (irreversible arm swelling). She now gets to rock a sweet arm sleeve to help prevent this.
It was early August that her treatment plan was solidified. Doctors recommended radiation at three different points on her chest rather than chemotherapy. This all due to her “oncotype score." I really hate that I understand what all of that means.
Her radiation treatments have been every day, five days a week. Her last day is slated to be October 9, so we’ll all be celebrating at our big PINK PARTY on October 12.
My vibrant mom and I have always been very close. But this experience has brought us to a new frontier. She's "my girl," as I tell her. I’ve been in complete awe of her strength, grace, style (she looks more put together for a CAT scan than I do on my best day), and amazing attitude. She’s loved by all she meets, and this cancer journey has made it abundantly clear to me why. I mean, she cut her hair in honor of the women forced to lose theirs in chemotherapy.
But along with my beaming mom pride, this process has made me so ridiculously proud of all women.
This experience has offered so many examples of female strength and power.
From my mom being far more concerned about how her cancer was going to affect her daughters and grandchildren, than herself.
To my mom’s knowledgeable and calming female oncologist, anesthesiologist, surgeon, radiation specialist, nurses, and hospital workers. Women are awesome.
To my sisters (both biological and honorary) who are caring for my mom the way she has always cared for us.
To my mother’s gal friends who shower her with support, skipping work and personal engagements to hold her hand, taking turns with visits, and even changing her bandages and blow drying her hair post surgery. Women are awesome.
To the female cancer patients my mom encounters while waiting for treatment. Young moms with their children. Professionals answering emails before radiation. All of them offering support and sharing tips, stories and encouragement.
To the taudrey team, who stepped up for me. There was never a hesitation. I took the time I needed for my mom and everyone supported me. Women are awesome.
So throughout October, we’re doing it big and in pink. In honor of my momma, all of those touched by breast cancer and all cancers, and in celebration of every strong woman out there!
We’ve designed a full collection in support, and will be donating 20% of October 2019 proceeds to the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute within Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The pretty pieces are able to be personalized in various ways to appeal both to those personally touched and those who simply want to support.
If you want to support my mom directly, you can shop the bracelet stack she helped design here! We will be donating 20% of October 2019 proceeds of the piece directly to her, to show some financial support as she continues her medical leave from work.
I know things could be so much worse with my mom. I’m so grateful to have her today and fiercely hope her cancer story ends here. And I know I can speak on behalf of the entire #taudsquad when I say my heart is with all those whose lives have been forever changed by cancer.
Join us in celebrating and raising awareness this month. And hug your momma and all of the special women in your life a little tighter. Tell them you love them. Call them. Schedule a lunch. Plan a trip. Celebrate life and each other. Now!