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On Mother’s Day three years ago I found out that I had cancer. The doctor walked into my hospital room with residents in tow and said, “It’s worse than we had hoped.” He told me I would need a hysterectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else he said. I was too busy thinking about the irony that someone had just told me I would never be able to have biological children on the very day dedicated to celebrating motherhood.
Today I’m fortunate to be in remission. But the disease left scars, deep ones. It broke me down and stripped me of everything I thought I knew, leaving me beaten and bruised. For those of us lucky enough to call ourselves survivors, another difficult journey begins when you are declared “in remission”. As a friend told me: “Finding out you have cancer is like hearing that your house is on fire. There is no time to think. All you care about is getting out alive. Your doctor finally telling you there is ‘no evidence of disease’ is like sitting on the curb staring at the burnt rubble that use to be your home”. For me it meant years of feeling like I was barely hanging on; always on the verge of capsizing. It was a lonely, isolating experience. On one hand I felt an intense gratitude and renewed sense of awe about life, while on the other hand I kept looking back at my old “house” and only finding ash.
I needed to figure out a way to move forward with mylife in a way that would help me feel whole again. The journey of creating Treatmint Box with one of my oldest friends from childhood, Wendy Nichols, has been immensely therapeutic. Healing for me was doing something where I could use what I learned about the importance of our connections to each other. There are so many people out there doing amazing things and this is just one little one, but it’s what Wendy and I felt like WE could do.
Why Treatmint Box? Well, It can be hard to know how to support a friend who is battling this disease. As someone who been through cancer I know that it is a long, tiring struggle. It is wonderful when a rush of friends reach out when you are first diagnosed, but slowly the cards and visits taper off. Everybody’s life gets busy, and it can be tough to know what to say to someone who is months or years into their disease. The most important thing you can do for someone you care about is to keep reaching out. You may not know it, but you are a lifeline. We designed Treatmint Box as a subscription box for cancer patients precisely to provide this enduring love and support. Wendy and I wanted to create something that renews a person’s strength during the many long days and nights, and that gives them “fuel for the fight”, not just once but every single month.