Like many of my friends, I was raised with a “Clorox” mentality
, where the thinking is that it’s not clean unless your lungs burn. I was crazy for everything scented, from candles to personal care products. If it smelled clean I “automatically” assumed it was in fact “clean” (and good for you).
I remember bonding with my mom as she would show me how to apply makeup and all the wonderful smelling body sprays and lotions. She even showed me her “secret” for oily skin (baby powder). Little did I know that baby (talcum) powder would later be disclosed as massively toxic.
One day after swim practice, my dad delivered the devastating news that my mother had ovarian cancer. I couldn’t believe it. My heart broke as I fell to the floor in agony. What would I do without my mother? How could I live without her?
For ten years I helplessly watched my mother battle for her life as the horrors of cancer unfolded. As difficult as this time was, it was also a blessing. Among many life lessons she taught me determination. Often, being a competitive athlete was a grind. Early morning workouts, injuries, missing out on social events took its toll on me. When I wanted to give up, I’d think about her battle and how she was so proud of me. That work ethic is instilled in me today.