I have been on quite a journey since my breast cancer diagnosis in October 2008. I had been an attorney for years, slogging along, knowing I was not fulfilled in my job, but convincing myself I had no choice in the matter. After running a marathon in mid-2007, though, I realized anything is possible, and I joined a band. Later, in 2008, I recorded an album of songs I'd written. Within weeks of releasing my album in 2008, however, just when I was starting to gain some attention for the songs, the doctor called to shock the hell out of me with news that I had breast cancer at age 37 and needed to undergo chemotherapy immediately. Needless to say, I was shocked and devastated. In addition to worrying about my life (and not wanting to leave my daughters and husband to fend for themselves), I was equally worried and horrified at the thought that my diagnosis would kill my nascent musical dreams.
Little did I know that this terrifying diagnosis would actually serve as a wake up call, igniting an almost fanatical passion for life like nothing I'd experienced before! The imaginary fences I'd created for myself pre-diagnosis simply did not exist. The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I quit my job as an attorney. I am so glad I made the change – and by whatever means necessary I am grateful — but why on earth did I think I needed the “permission” of a cancer diagnosis to be the real me?
I’d always been a big dreamer as a child, certain I’d win the Oscar and write the great American novel, too. I sang in every high school musical, and then went off to UCLA theatre school. When I was singing and expressing my creative side, I always felt like me. But after college, I went into the family “lawyer business” and forgot all about that little dreamer inside of me. Even though I loved my husband and two little daughters so very much, I was totally and utterly compartmentalized. So much of my daily life was spent fighting voraciously in court about other people’s money. The stress and anxiety of my daily life ate me up inside – just like a cancer – until, of course, it became an actual cancer.
After my cancer treatments, I vowed to live my life with passion and authenticity. And man oh man, it turns out that living passionately and authentically has abundant rewards: I recorded my second album of songs, all written during treatments, right after treatments ended. The album is called "I'm Still Here." The music video for the title track has surpassed 1,000,000 hits on Youtube! At the end of 2011, Billboard Magazine ranked me No. 5 on its list of the Top 50 emerging artists for the entire year!
And, I am thrilled to say, I also wrote my first book, and got a book deal! In March 2012, my book Rocking the Pink will be released, with endorsements by Robin Roberts, Jack Black, Jennifer Griffin, Joni Rodgers, and more. I hope my book will reach out to all those women who unexpectedly find they have suddenly, shockingly, become pink warriors. My hope is that my book will make them feel inspired to keep fighting — to "rock the pink!"
I am committed to "rocking the pink" — telling my story to raise awareness and inspire a continued fight for a cure. I hope to be a living example to others coming after me on this road, to show them they can make it, that they are not alone, and that they can be better than ever.
If you are in Southern California, please come to my book release party on March 8 at the House of Blues San Diego. Let's celebrate a dream coming true!