BREAST CANCER WARRIOR
Production Manager at Electric & Rose
If Erika Martha-Escobar has one thing to share with anyone reading this, it's "self-care is the most important thing that you can do for yourself." Erika recognizes that women often put their health at the bottom of the list of things to do, but your yearly check-ups, mammograms, and dental cleanings should be the first appointments that you schedule each year. Since breast cancer didn't run in Erika's family, when her doctor recommended getting her first mammogram at age 40, she put off making the appointment...for two years. When Erika went in for her first mammogram, she was shocked to learn that cancer was detected. Erika had no signs or symptoms, and as a wife and mother to a young son, a battle with cancer was the furthest thing from her mind.
Luckily the cancer was detected early enough that Erika was able to keep her breasts, but the journey ahead would include a lumpectomy, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, and 10 weeks of daily radiation. Although the side effects weren't terrible, the entire process was a continuous cycle of feeling entirely depleted for 4 days, and then feeling ok for a few more. It's been four months since Erika underwent her last treatment, and with a little breathing room, she's honest about the fact that cancer created a a type of PTSD. One that centers on fear; Erika shared "the fear is that it will come back, and that any ache or pain is cancer again."
Moving forward, Erika has sage advice to share:
- Take care of yourself. Make those appointments with your doctor, dentist, and get all of the wellness checks done like clockwork. Erika said, "I was afraid that a mammogram would hurt, but my doctor reminded me that wearing high heels hurts, but women do it any way."
- Advocate for yourself. Find a doctor that hears you, and a team that takes care of you.
- Allow people to help. If you find yourself in a health crisis, let people bring food, schedule meals, give you gift cards for food delivery. From Erika: "I appreciated that others were taking care of my husband and son, and I wanted to note my immense gratitude to everyone that made it possible for me to focus on me."
This year, Electric & Rose joined Erika and walked as a team at the Susan G.Komen More than Pink Walk in Los Angeles. Joining thousands of people walking in support of breast cancer warriors was an incredibly moving experience, and something that the team looks forward to participating in again next year.