In 2019, I was diagnosed with breast cancer just 13 months after my last physical checkup from which I was cleared and healthy. The 7cm tumor was detected early but was aggressive and I immediately and sadly had to undergo, 18 months of chemotherapy treatments, 28 rounds of radiation, a double mastectomy, and reconstruction. This was followed by what continues to be a physical and mental recovery process for life.
During my diagnosis, I was so afraid that work opportunities would perish and clients would see me as unreliable due to my health condition especially because I have always thrived on reassuring my clients with reliability. I’ve been a self-made-business owner since the age of 25 and I have never shown any kind of weakness to my clients for two decades.
Unfortunately, businesswomen often find it difficult to show vulnerability in the workplace. We put up a persona of being unbreakable and in control at all times during our careers to seem reliable and secure. Society expects women, from the time we’re first engaged or have started a family, to always look like we have everything under control.
The key is that most driven women are aware of the challenges and possibilities ahead in their professional lives, thus we plan for contingencies and set up backup plans to ensure that our business road may continue while we achieve personal objectives.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, it was a complete shock that left me feeling hopeless. In order to keep my mental stability and protect my legacy, I hid my disease from everyone. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone or be replaced because I needed to continue running a healthy business for the sake of my clients and employees.
I am beyond grateful to be cancer-free today, and it is all thanks to my amazing doctors. Mater hospital, Royal North Shore, Sydney Breast Clinic have provided me with top-notch care. My family’s love has been immeasurable throughout this journey as well as the prayers from everyone who loves and believes in my strength – thank you all for your support.
After being diagnosed, I experienced one of the most challenging times in my life.
My battle with cancer wasn’t easy, but it taught me some very valuable lessons. I learned that being vulnerable is a quality and that by communicating my experiences to other women can inspire others to look after their health.
You too can beat a horrible disease with early detection and continue to live your best life. Fight for what you love and for a healthier tomorrow. Shed a light on what makes you vulnerable and be an example to others. Find your allies!
I am extremely lucky to lead & work alongside strong females – my Gallies. They are a huge motivation for me to continue my professional journey as a designer. I feel privileged to be their career mentor, and I hope that I can inspire them as many others.
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