Superhero of Love

“Designing and Leading Waxing Poetic from the Heart”

Our founder, Patti Pagliei was interviewed by Bridget Fonger on her podcast called Superhero of Love. Listen to the interview here: http://bit.ly/2AVT3tE

 

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In the interview, Patti talks about how she overcame the many challenges that life threw her way, such as her battle with cancer, the threat of losing her home due to natural disasters, and the love that helped her family get through many health hardships. It’s a must hear, and we can’t wait for you to listen!

A sense of purpose from the CanSurvivor

Kelsey Smith amplifies the voices of those who have turned pain into purpose on her CanSurvivor podcast and website. Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 29, she has built a community of women using their talents to make a difference. We recently sat down with her for an interview.

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The Can Survivor is such a great name for your blog and podcast – it’s so perfect to have the word “can” front and center. Tell us a bit about that?

Thanks so much! When attempting to name the blog, I kept seeing the term “Cancervivor,” which appeared to give ‘cancer’ too much weight. So, The CanSurvivor was born. It was a way of flipping something traumatic like facing mortality on its head, an assertion I could survive. It certainly isn’t a guarantee since one-third of early-stage diagnoses turns into Metastatic Breast Cancer. For now, cancer doesn’t have the upper hand. I CAN survive, while sharing the experiences of others who have had a direct relationship to breast cancer. Whether it is a plastic surgeon, CEO, or nonprofit organization, there’s an incredible amount of resources to help with survival.

 

Receiving a diagnosis at 29 must have been quite a shock. Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how sharing helped you in the beginning?

 

Cancer was nowhere on the itinerary, as I had just started a position in a “dream job” eight days prior to the diagnosis. In fact, I was so into the job that it took a month to call doctors about the lump I had found in my left breast. While I had gotten sick twice in September, I didn’t put two and two together. Many family members and friends were across the country during treatment and the blog started as a way to keep everyone updated. It was helpful to articulate exactly what was going on while explaining all the details so everyone would be on the same page. It also served as a testament to what someone actually goes through in treatment.

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You do some pretty fearless things – repelling down a 16-story building for The Victory Center is brave as can be. How do you work up to challenge?

 

This is true! There’s something innate where the possibility of the result is more attractive than the method of getting there. Rappelling down a 16-story building meant more money for the Victory Center, for example. It was also a trust exercise: All of the tools that allowed participants to rappel were designed for safety, and professionals were standing by. It’s important to trust the goodness in even the most negative of processes. While rappelling was definitely scary, seeing the bigger picture negated the fear.

 

Helping women be their most brilliant, resilient and amazing selves as they navigate Breast Cancer is a bold goal and you do it with style. What’s a favorite example of brilliant resilience from your community – or yourself?

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Thank you! The best examples are the individuals who have turned their pain into purpose. In the breast cancer community, there are so many people who are using their talents to make a difference. Women like April Johnson-Stearns of Wildfire Magazine or Emily Hopper of Empowerhaus, who are unapologetically inserting their kick-ass attitudes into their brands. These are women who are vulnerable and impactful.

 

Your long-term survivor guests are fantastic. What are some of the top lessons passed along from these 30-years in ladies?

 

Yes, they are! There’s an incredible amount of wisdom to pick up from these women, especially since their treatments were harsher decades ago. Many people don’t know that less than 40 years ago, surgeons did not reconstruct breasts. It took decades for this advancement to be a standard of care. In fact, it is so embedded within the community that women are asking specifically to go “flat,” or not receive reconstruction. It’s really amazing how much long-term survivors have endured while maintaining a sunny disposition.

 

While we have a long way to go to cure breast cancer completely, processes are getting better every day. They’ve taught me to be appreciative of modern medicine. Older survivors have the ability to focus on what is important without letting small things ruin their day. They’re also the best at holding space during tough times of uncertainty.

 

How important is community in treatment?

 

It isn’t just community that is important, it is the right community. During treatment, it’s easy to become the center of attention, which then makes others seem or feel like spectators. It can also attract the wrong attention. People aren’t afraid to exploit the situation. Since breast cancer is such a big deal (especially under age 45—Only 11% of us have it), word spreads pretty quickly which can be isolating. Anyone who has been diagnosed should seek out cancer support groups immediately because people may rally around during treatment, then disappear afterwards. It can be mentally exhausting, daunting, and lonely. People who have been through it understand like no one else can.

 

 

You’ve turned your pain into power and created something amazing as a result. Were you a coach before your diagnosis?

 

I was not. The diagnosis took the wheel, as I was in product marketing previously. Young breast cancer survivorship is unique as it leaves open the possibility of making big lifestyle changes in diet, relationships, and sense of purpose. Having a coach who understands this and doesn’t think you’re “overdramatic” or “crazy” is incredibly essential in the healing process, which is uniquely individual. No two cancers are the same, but if you allow it, you can make incredible connections and move forward with optimism.

 

What is the funniest thing someone has said on The CanSurvivor Podcast?

 

The talks with fellow survivors are always funny because we are SO not modest, and nobody quite understands our struggles like each other. There were some hearty laughs on an upcoming episode regarding prosthetic nipples. Yes, there’s a prosthetic for that!

 

What would you like to tell us about self-exams and mammograms?

 

Breast cancer does not discriminate by age. Eleven percent of women under age 45 will get breast cancer, so please do not forget to set time aside the first of every month to do a self-exam. If you have dense breasts, simply look for “sisters” (similar lumps and bumps). The lump I had did not have a sister, cousin, or anything like that. Mammograms are not typically covered for younger women unless a mass has been found, so “feeling it on the first” is a great defense. In addition to that, if you have a family history of cancer, please speak with a geneticist about testing for genetic mutations. Five to ten percent of all breast cancer diagnoses are caused by BRCA mutations. Luckily, there are solutions!

 

 

What’s next for you? And where can others find you out in cyberspace?

 

This week, we launched the podcast in video format on YouTube! The format of the show has changed to weekly interviews, which allows for more guests involved with breast cancer initiatives. It seems to be continuously expanding, so you will just have to wait and see what’s next!

 

There are several ways to find me:

www.TheCanSurvivor.com

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

 

We’re all pledging to take care of ourselves this month with a small step that’s easy to incorporate into every day; a walk, meditation, primal scream. What is your #mypledge?

 

#MyPledge is to spend fifteen minutes outside, whether it means exercise, taking in nature, playing basketball, or walking. October is a great month to watch the leaves change and fall. There’s an incredible amount lot of beauty in the Midwest!

We honor Kelsey’s spirit – and the spirit of so many others – with our support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. During the month of October, a donation from every sale goes to NBCF and the important work they do. Our hope is that one day there will be no more unexpected warriors.

#IAMPOETIC

 FEATURED FRIENDS OF WAXING POETIC

 WHO I AM

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Africa is in my blood.

I moved to Durban, South Africa from London with my family when I was young.

This is where I first developed my deep love and bond with horses.

I am a huge animal advocate and lover, and horses at that time were my life. Horses have a spiritual quality that give me a sense of being.

I rode competitively but more importantly I was living my childhood dream!

I spent most of my free time carefree, happy and at peace with my horses.

These memories of being one with horse represent freedom and joy.

I am a designer by profession, having studied in Durban, South African for 3 years and went on to do a post graduate degree in London at the Central Saint Martin’s School of Art.

I’m a creative thinker who has both held senior positions for leading companies and co-founded and built up two successful sportswear brands.

I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and live life with passion.

I’m purpose driven and care deeply about social and environmental causes.

 

BEING POETIC

Being poetic for me is about how one lives one’s life.

Seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Seeing beauty in nature.

Living with love and kindness

It’s authentic self-expression, being true to yourself.

Self-expression is the heart and soul of creativity.

It’s about imagination.

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MY LIFE / VALUES / INSIGHTS

In 2006, my husband, Shaun and I tragically lost our only beloved son, Mathew.

Men and women heal differently.

I felt so alone.

The unspeakable pain and grief led me to question my value and meaning in life at that time.

Soon after, I was introduced to The Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.

TBCF supports families that have a child with cancer providing financial, emotional and educational support.

I threw myself into volunteering for them, finding helping others was emotionally healing to myself.

Giving back benefited me ……. knowing that I could make a difference in the lives of others in some small way, allowed me to begin a new life, living with gratitude.

TBCF gave me a sense of family and a sense of belonging.

It was life changing and powerful!

I continue to be committed as an Ambassador for Teddy Cancer Foundation and advocate for children in Mathew’s honor.

I’m so lucky to have Shaun by my side, and to have been given a second chance at being a family.

I believe in miracles ….

I believe in the power of prayer ….

I trust in the universe, have hope, humility and know love triumphs

Family connection matters most.

Luke, our second born son, is now 8, and I like to think we bring poetry into all aspects of our lives.

I value every minute of every day with him.

We share stories and I’m planning on writing a book about our dearly loved dog Buddy, who is our four-legged family.

Luke is going to illustrate the book which will be called “Buddy Belongs”.

Friendships are also pivotal to my existence, and enrich my life.

I ‘m surrounded by a circle of phenomenal friends here in Santa Barbara.

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Dreams – we all have dreams

But what makes our come alive ….. believing in ourselves …

being divinely aware, our faith and love.

My dream is to love and be loved, to follow my own path, living a life of purpose.

The ocean heals my mind, body and spirit.

It makes me calmer and more creative.

We are a family of ocean lovers, so protecting our ocean and coastline is vital for humankind, and those we care about for future generations.

2013 I began volunteering for grassroots organization, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and subsequently became a board member after a couple of years.

Channelkeeper protects the waters in the Santa Barbara Channel through science-based advocacy, education and enforcement.

The climate crisis affects all of us and we need to protect our environment!

Knowing that we belong to something bigger than ourselves and that all life on earth is connected to our oceans, protecting the beauty of our ocean and beaches for a better future is a commitment we can all make.

We have the personal power within us to share our inner most thoughts, our vulnerability and deepest emotions. Sharing our ideas, our journey, is not only magical for the writer/ artist/musicians/advocate, but can have an impact and help others.

Each and every one of us have the power to inspire and be a positive influence in this world.

It’s about doing something that matters.

 

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The first piece I bought was a necklace with an initial M on the one side and an astrological sign on the other side – gosh it was maybe about 15 years ago.

What drew me to it was a heart connection – this piece is a remembrance now it is my love

My old favorite piece that I wear stacked is a simple bangle that a close girlfriend gave me for a gift, many years ago that is inscribe “LOYAL AND FIRECELY SO”

I fell in love with this piece and went into the store and bought a few for my girlfriends.

My most complimented piece is small gold crest necklace on leather that I that Luke loved so much that I bought him one too.

My new favorite is the large silver ring I am wearing in the shoot!

Whether WP are gifts for yourself or for others, whether to bless, inspire, encourage, or motivate I love the personal flavor.

 

FAVOURITE POEM

Maggie and Molly and Molly and May by E. E. Cummings

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went down to the beach (to play one day)

and Maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles; and

may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like you or me)

It’s always ourselves we find in the sea

 

Hhhhhm so many beautiful quotes – this one today – The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart.”  Helen Keller

National Women’s Friendship Month

A sorta PSA during this NATIONAL WOMEN’S FRIENDSHIP MONTH…

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IT IS NEVER TOO LATE
TO FIND (or FOUND) YOUR TRIBE

It’s a well-documented fact that Waxing Poetic loves/celebrates/wouldn’t exist without women: sisters (by blood, by blended family, by choice, by serendipity, by way of the Greek System, by divine providence) best friends, cousins (all sorts), mothers and daughters, aunts and nieces, grandmothers great and immediate, colleagues, co-conspirators, creative allies, mentors and mavens and…we could go on forever (and probably will in some form or another), and all manner of their friendships in between.

To that end, Women’s Friendship Day seems a particularly excellent  ‘invented holiday’ to celebrate (honestly, it’s kind of a perpetual holiday around here) – but this is a post suggesting that beyond celebrating the friendships we already all have, we celebrate our capacity to keep growing more.

This doesn’t necessarily mean more new friends (though it can), but it does mean more incarnations of friendship: we propose celebrating our capacity as women to make, nurture, evolve, and grow our friendships writ large. It is paramount to remember that we are never alone, that we can always find our people, that our tribe is never too tiny or too scattered, and that we are only a slight risk (in terms of outreach) away from connecting with kindred spirits.

Some of us are very fortunate to have a longstanding, core group of female friends nearby (or very receptive to calls/letters/texts/girls trips) – those of us with sisters and close cousins even more so – but sometimes life intervenes and we find ourselves in new territories (literal or figurative) – and finding your tribe in a new place (like…we move across the country or the globe, we face unexpected health challenges and need a particular brand of supportive co-combatant, we go back to school or change careers and feel the odd one out) can feel daunting. WE NEED TO REMEMBER, ALL OF US, THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS (whatever this is – whenever ‘this’ is happening), that nothing – not even fear — is not going to stop you from finding your ladies or us from finding you. We need to remember this, because it is sometimes easy to forget as we grow up, leave school and scatter – and sometimes find ourselves feeling strangely lost and alone. This is a fiction!

Wherever we are in our lives, in our geography, in our journeys – our roles and selves are always evolving, and sometimes this involves unexpected changes and challenges.  As women, we are simultaneously awesome at taking care of other people and supporting one another and tending to our families and growing our businesses and expanding our networks and sometimes in all of that admittedly awesome stuff, we forget to make room to grow our friendships. Let’s all stop doing that.

Now: everybody hug. <3

 

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We’re Not Afraid to Emoji

Dedicated to all of our courageous sisters on #sistersday

When my sister Lizanne texted me her “WE GOT THIS!” Bitmoji response after she nailed a critical business need (in her typical, cool, take-it-on-effortlessly fashion… while mild panic likely ensued elsewhere), I had two thoughts (and one feeling):

She is a modern day superhero
She is a genius for figuring out how to dress her Bitmoji in a fitting Boston Terrier shirt
And,
I LOVE HER.

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Sisters, there is a reason so many women’s empowered movements have been successful: because when we get the chance, when we feel empowered, we can bring awareness, support and an unstoppable energy to the things that matter most to us. We are a fierce bunch.

We typically work hard for the benefit of others. It is what women do (most, at least… we are learning every day). It is what my sister does. And as sisters, our efforts are somehow amplified. There is just an unbreakable connection, and I know from my own working relationship with my sister, the WE is stronger than the ME.

My sister (each of them, I am blessed with two…, and all my other “sisters” – you know who you are!):
Does she not have my back?
Does she not care more than anyone?
Does she not put up with any of my bull$@*t?

Yes, yes and yes. Lizanne and I take this job of leading our Poetic family very seriously, and as we expand our own behaviors and beliefs into a value system that positively impacts so many people through our work, our care, concern and sometimes tough love matter even more.

Our relationship has transformed how we do business, and the lessons learned throughout our lifelong relationship are now being alchemized into a much bigger purpose. Other-mindedness. Really “seeing” each other. Cooperation over competition. Encouragement and support when we (and others) need it most. Not walking away when it is easier, but working through things. Always love and a mutually respect for each’s divinity, and our collective path.

The funny thing with sisters is that we know each other intimately enough to call out each other’s flaws, but usually, we help each other through those blind spots to a greater understanding that we have been given this bond for a reason. Showing up as each other’s keepers, mirrors, coaches, shrinks, best friends, sisters.

Passing along one more text exchange with my sister now:
She, understanding and encouraging me to have my bath and chill,
And me, all prayer hands and love.

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So grateful for her.

There is much madness in the world, but don’t you feel it… the “we got this?” The world turns in thanks and praise for all the sisters who have ever spoken those words to one another.

Now, go draw yourself a bath Sis (and all Sisters). Re-charge and be blessed in your sacredness to all of us. We’ll text later <3

 

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