By: Lindsey Jones
We are excited to introduce Nicole Phillips, from Athens, Ohio, as this week’s Feature Friday. Among doing random acts of kindness, she loves to hang out with her three kids and cheer on her husband as he coaches the Ohio University Men’s Basketball Team. Professionally, she is a speaker, weekly newspaper columnist and author of the book, “Kindness is Contagious: 100 Stories to Remind You God is Good and So are Most People.” She also has a new podcast called, “The Kindness Podcast” which will come out in October.
When did you get diagnosed with breast cancer? How old were you?
I was diagnosed in May of 2015 when I was 40-years old. I went in for a regular check-up, as I do every year on my birthday, and the doctor felt a lump.
What type of breast cancer were you diagnosed with and what was your treatment?
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 lobular invasive carcinoma in the left breast. I had a mastectomy in July of 2015, reconstruction in April 2016 and am on a drug called Tamoxifen for the next 10 years.
Who inspires you today and to not give up hope when you were fighting cancer?
I really found support during my fight from my children, my husband and God. I felt like I had a choice- to either complain and cower or to show women that it’s okay to have pain and joy at the same time. The community really surrounded our whole family with love and support. It was a beautiful show of kindness in a time that was very stressful for all of us.
What advice or encouragement do you have for someone still going through treatment or has a loved one going through it?
I did intentional acts of kindness as my own form of chemotherapy on the days I was feeling especially down. Kindness has a way of rerouting a bad day and getting our minds off of ourselves. Even though I didn’t have much energy, I found that it was an instant happiness boost to buy someone a little gift or surprise a stranger with a small gift card.
Nicole also shared…
I am writing the book I wanted to read when I was diagnosed. I wanted to see what a mastectomy or lumpectomy looked like on a real woman’s body without doing a scary internet search (which pulled up pornography or hack jobs). I have a friend who is a professional photographer. She started taking pictures of my chest at each step of my journey and I started sharing my heart on my blog. That material will be in a new book released in 2018. I am still looking for brave women in Southeastern Ohio who are wiling to let us photograph their chest for the book. I am also asking women to share their best advice in a variety of areas so I can make a “cheat sheet” for the newly diagnosed. You can learn more on my blog.
Also, my daughter, Jordan, began sewing coffee cup sleeves when I was diagnosed and raised $18,000 so far for Susan G. Komen. Her Cozys for the Cure caught national attention and will be sold in Walmart in September and October of this year. You can read about her story here.
Thanks for sharing your story, Nicole!