Hi Y'all, my name is Alicia. I am a true Southern girl from a small town in Florida. I have lived in Tucson for the past 15 years, but still get asked on almost a daily basis where I am from due to my accent.
Being from the South, I was raised on some of the best cooking around, but for the last several years I have eaten a plant-based diet and exercised fairly regularly so I was in complete shock and surprise when in February I was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer.
I felt like the picture of health. One minute I am riding roller coasters with my grandchildren or planning last minute cross-country trips with my boyfriend and the next I am in a whirlwind of dr appointments, testing, machines and hearing words I never thought I would hear.
I had every emotion one could possibly have, from anger to sadness to even hopelessness. After the initial shock wore off I decided I was not going to let this own me and take it on as strongly as I could.
Some days its a little harder than others, but there is beauty in everyday, whether its a gorgeous sunrise, or the birds at my feeder, the wonderful hugs from my boyfriend, or my children and grandchildren.
I am down to 2 chemo treatments remaining, then I will face my surgery and reconstruction. I have had many people praying for me along this journey and my faith has kept me strong throughout. My advice to others faced with this is do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.
Nadia and her photos gave me back a part of myself that I had let slip away over the last few months. She made me feel comfortable and special during the photo shoot and even though I had only met her that day it was like I had known her forever.
I think as women this is very difficult for us to do, but during this time you need to focus on you and getting yourself well. Since my diagnosis I have met some of the most generous and supportive people in this town. The ladies at my oncology center are always there to offer a smile, kind words and support, even with what they are facing themselves.
Nadia and many others who are willing to donate their time and talents for the benefit of others are a true blessing and I appreciate you all more than you know. I have a birthday coming up this month and I intend to celebrate this one and each and every one from now on to the fullest! I want no regrets!