With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and because I am also a breast cancer survivor, I thought it would be the perfect time to share my experience and how that journey has impacted what I do for a living.
When you hear the term CPA, you probably think of taxes, numbers, accounting, finance, money, income, loss, business… and the list could go on. Yes, all of those words are relevant to what I do. But what I enjoy most is the people part of being in business for myself as a CPA. In a way, breast cancer was part of the journey that got me to where I am today.
I was in “Corporate America” for the vast majority of my career, managing large departments of employees who performed a wide variety of accounting functions for a living, and some of those functions even involved, yes – taxes. At the height of my corporate career, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts. It was only my second annual mammogram. There was no history of breast cancer in my family. There were no signs of the disease, as the cancer was too small to be detected by self-examination. It was caught very early because I followed my doctor’s orders and faithfully got a mammogram every year starting at age 40. Thankfully, my prognosis is excellent and I celebrate being cancer free every day!
I often wonder why my family and I had to go through such an ordeal. I believe things happen for a reason. When I recently had an opportunity to leave the corporate world and pursue my dream of working for myself to help other business owners and individuals with their tax and accounting needs, I embraced it. I wanted my work-life balance back. I wanted to help people (especially other business owners like me) who wanted to help themselves. I wanted to live into my OWN priorities and not someone else’s. And so far, I’m doing all of those things! Taking care of my health, my family and my clients.
If I had not had the unfortunate circumstance of dealing with breast cancer, I don’t think I would be a business owner today because I would not have taken the risk. But cancer changes your priorities, and it certainly changed mine. With every new client I meet, I am so thankful to have the opportunity of serving them and I hope it shows!
My message to you is this: women age 40 or over – get a mammogram every year without fail! Men, please know the warning signs for breast cancer in men because it can happen to you, too! And make sure all the women in your lives read this!