My name is Mailet Lopez. I'm a 37-year-old woman who was born in Cuba and migrated to the US in 1980 as part of the Mariel boatlift. I grew up on Long Island, and with the guidance of my parents, was able to master a new culture and the English language. Along the way I developed a passion for design and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design. During my last years of college, I ran my own digital design studio.. This experience led me to a career in new media with a leading agency in New York.
Two months after 9/11, I co-founded Squeaky Wheel Media, a minority/woman-owned, award-winning digital communications agency in New York City.
In March of 2008, at the age of 33 I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma). This news, as you can imagine, was not something I expected. My first thoughts were... Huh? Did I hear correctly? How? Really...me?
And so my journey began...
Over the past few months I had been noticing changes to my body. After years of managing my menstrual cycle with various brands of birth control pills, I started feeling bloated and my periods were getting really heavy. I decided to schedule an appointment with my OB-GYN because during a self examination I found a lump on the right side of my breast. My doctor confirmed the lump and ordered a mammogram.
In addition, while examining me, she asked me if I was aware I had fibroids. I told her I wasn’t and that I was confuse as to why they weren’t detected during my annual exam six months ago? Anyway, she went ahead and also ordered a pelvic sonogram.
I stopped taking the pill altogether. Something told me that the pill might be playing a role in all of the changes in my body, and it was best for me to take a break. In addition to getting rid of artificial hormones, I became a vegetarian. Several months before I found the lump, serendipitously, a client recommended I read "The China Study". It was insightful. The author argued that there was a connection between animal protein and cancer. The book made sense to me and in an effort to completely cleanse my body, I stopped eating meat.