Cue the music: “I’m a survivor”
My incredible, inspiring, beautiful mother had a huge battle with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This was almost 5 years ago, and one of the most terrifying experiences of our lives. I’ve wanted to share her moving story but I needed time to pass to heal us all from the wounds this wretched disease created.
How “the cancer” developed
She felt a lump under her left breast for about a year. She and my dad both agreed they needed to get it checked out but both were in denial and waited as long as possible to do so. My grandmother just had a stroke so to say the least, it wasn’t exactly a calm time. My mother decided it was her role to take care of my grandparents (my grandfather was trying to figure out how to care for my grandmother, they were both in their 90′s).
She finally went to see a radiologist 2 weeks after her mother passed away. Indeed, it was a tumor and it metastasized and spread to her liver and lymph nodes. We were all floored. We didn’t know what to do. My best friend from childhood died that year as well, so I felt as though my world was falling apart.
Her biggest advice? “Don’t wait until it’s too late to get a screening. There are simple tests you can get at a young age to see if your estrogen levels could lead to tumors in the future. Get screenings and don’t wait to get questionable lumps checked out. Whether you chose to do so or not and take it seriously is up to you, I certainly didn’t.”
Phyllis A. Koenig-Aaronson is an inspiration to SO many. In her profession, she has worked her way up to the top, being one of the few women in her industry to produce commercials and currently, to own a commercial production company. She has been in the world of creating commercials and film for over 20 years and does a kick-ass job.
Personally, she is a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, step-mother, cousin and friend. She is a joy to be around, creating happiness and joy everywhere she goes. She’s kind hearted, loving and one of the most giving and generous people I’ve ever met. She’s been like this her entire life. I learned to give and not expect anything in return 100% from her and my father. The way they engage with people, every person as if they count, no matter who they are, has always inspired me. From a homeless person on the street to a waitress in a diner, they have always been giving and human to all.
My mom is so strong and beyond brave. She has been through her share of life’s curve balls and took them with ease and grace. She intentionally makes it look easy, and she does a damn good job of it.
Her Perspective in Life: How has it changed? How has it stayed the same?
My mother reported she definitely still “works hard and plays hard”but her relationship with others and how she lets (or doesn’t let) their opinions and issues affect her is with far less gravity. She prioritizes her SELF first, her needs, wants and her families and close friends as well. She has more fun than she did before “the cancer”. She “doesn’t give a damn about anyone who’s burdened with negativity or fear.” She also explained that she has a “reset button that’s set to positive that gets pushed every day.” She works incredibly hard so by the end of the day she’s exhausted. She spends time with my dad for sustenance and by the morning her “happy” reset button has been pushed again. She has many trips planned for the future, and if the universe decides its time for her to go, she’ll “buy two plane tickets for me and my husband and I’ll fly around the world until they yell at me to get into bed to die. But I’m hoping that won’t happen for a good long time from now, if ever.” She added that she harbors “zero guilt for others who can’t get their lives together. Don’t get me wrong, I feel badly for them-but I no longer feel responsible. It’s as real as the day is bright. Zero tolerance for those that don’t take responsibility for their own lives. That’s it. It’s simple.”
How her eating habits and relationship with food has changed
Personally, I’ve noticed quite the shift in my mother’s eating habits. Although she always had awareness surrounding healthy food (she was a vegetarian when she was 14 years old, which doesn’t always mean healthy). When she met her first husband (and then again with my dad) they were both meat and potato type of eaters so she cooked like that most of the time leading up to “the cancer”.
When I began learning about raw foods,superfoods, health and nutrition, she was so happy! She felt like she had a partner in (good) crime! During her cancer treatment, she began seeing a famous Chinese Doctor in Santa Monica. He taught her all about relaxation, meditation, but mostly, how to incorporate healthy foods, Chinese Herbs and Superfoods into her diet. Every evening she would drink a special herbal tea meant to heal her body from the inside out. I was so inspired by this that I created the Cacao MagicMushroom superfood blend which includes 3 medicinal mushrooms: Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps. These 3 mushrooms have been used for centuries to heal people and are known as “the ultimate herbal substances”. I began to do more research than ever during the time she had cancer to get to know the magical herbs of the world and using them myself.
She said she’s “so happy that you (me- Sophie!) created several healing powder blends you can feed your family a few times a day to get all those super nutrient dense foods in your body to stave off the creepy cancers that lurk in everyone’s bodies. They lurk. They’re there when you’re born. They say it’s only a matter of time before “they” light up. I’d love to see a world where nobody lights up in that way- ever.”