Parrot Fish Studio
May 1, 2018 was a life changing day. I went into surgery expecting a typical hysterectomy and woke up 5 hours later to find out that I had a very aggressive form of ovarian cancer. I additionally had a tumor that had penetrated my colon and required an additional specialist to come in and dissect part of my colon to remove the tumor. That began my cancer journey. I was blessed to have had tremendous support from family and friends that would drive my kids to and from school, clean my house, cook meals for me, take me to doctors visits... I even had a friend that juiced for me! I was able to focus on treatments and healing. As a small business owner, it further allowed me to keep working to pay for my bills and insurance!
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
At age 19 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Everything in my life changed in an instant. I immediately began radiation and chemotherapy treatment but struggled to cope as I was no longer a child but not truly an adult dealing with a devastating diagnosis. In the years that followed I was lucky enough to survive two subsequent relapses but my mental health absorbed much of the impact. I was diagnosed with an Eating Disorder and struggled with substance abuse and addiction. I was lucky enough to receive even more life saving treatment and connect with the practice of yoga and meditation which have been crucial in my overall recovery. I now teach yoga and mediation and specialize in working with cancer patients through gentle and therapeutic modalities. Giving back has been a pivotal part of my healing process. The amount of information given to you after a cancer diagnosis is nothing short of an avalanche. Help navigating all of it and putting support systems in place can bring so much needed relief and impact the emotional and physical well being of patients and their families during the treatment process.
Metastatic Colon Warrior
My diagnosis came on March 1, 2018. Stage IV Colon Cancer with metastasis to the liver. How did this happen??? I had been experiencing some mild symptoms and unexplained weight loss, but cancer... really? When I woke from the colonoscopy and was informed that a 4 cm tumor was found and was most definitely cancerous I thought, well... cut it out and let’s get on with life. It wasn’t until after the ct scan confirmed the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and liver that it really sunk in. My family and friends all came to my aid. Their generosity provided assistance with our medical expenses, weeknight meals, advocates with me at ever appointment and childcare. I’ve completed more then a dozen rounds of intense chemotherapy, radiation and a handful of tactical procedures to control this awful disease. I’m an active patient working hard to win this battle for my life.
In October of 2018, I had what I thought to be a routine mammogram. Little did I know this mammogram would catch early stage 1 cancer in my left breast and potentially save my life. A couple of months later, I began 2019 with a lumpectomy to remove my tumor followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Since my cancer was caught early, it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes or the rest of my body. I consider myself very lucky! Giving back has always been important to me so joining the Pink Pack team was a no brainer.
Certified Personal Trainer and
Group Fitness Instructor
Maru was born in Peru. After completing an AA in Communications, Maru moved to Miami and graduated with a BA on International Relations, a minor on Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Certificate on Translation, all at FIU, Florida. She also completed a MBA on International Business at the University of Miami. After a successful executive marketing career, Maru switched gears to be able to spend more time with her kids. She is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Group Fitness Instructor. Maru was diagnosed with a Type B Cell Lymphoma back in 2016. She followed a chemotherapy and radiation treatment which erradicated cancer successfully and she went on remission by the end of the year. Maru believes that, in addition to what a doctor can prescribe, a combination of exercise, appropriate nutrition and meditation should also be part of the treatment, recovery and healing process. Maru is married and has two teenage sons. Maru loves to live a healthy and simple life.
Breast Cancer Warrior
Case Manager/Care Coordinator
Xuan Florez at age 39 was initially diagnosed with an architectural distortion on the right breast thanks to preventative screening. Continued monitoring and biopsies revealed that that she in fact had Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
Surrounded by family and friends including her husband and 2 year old son, she started the journey of healing by learning about the illness, investigating options for treatment, and by making the most radical decision. Her procedures and treatments were performed at Sylvester Cancer Center by an amazing team of doctors and nurses.
Two years later, after not been able to conceive for 4 years, another son arrived unexpectedly, making her young family complete and giving her the strength to continuing fighting and helping other people have a healthier future.
Metastatic Breast Warrior
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in April 2015. It was hormone receptive breast cancer with metastasis to the right lymph-nodes. I had a bilateral mastectomy, removal of the lymph nodes, and permanent implants in December 2015. My cancer seemed to be in remission and I had , what was to be, my last revision surgery attempt on July 25th 2019. I was supposed to have my final chapter of surgeries early 2020. On November 6th 2019 I had severe back pain and ended up being diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer with metastasis to the bones. My faith, family, and friends are my army and help me beat all the battles that come my way. I believe in living every day to the fullest, getting the most joy out of making others happy, and being the best person I can be every second of my life.I am passionate and spiritual. I was a devoted cosmetologist for over 20 years and never thought I would do anything other than that. When life through curve balls at me, my passion became focused on the every day things like nature, new tasks, and making this world a better place to live in. The effects of cancer definitely humbled me and made me slow down to appreciate all living things. I find happiness in knowing that I made someone's life better in some way.