Stories of Thriving
Laura Roppé Bio
The year was 2008 and San Diego native Laura Roppé entire was about to change. Pursuing her dreams in music by moonlighting on weekends as a singer-songwriter, her debut album’s successful release was quickly followed by the diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer. On the day she learned all her dreams and her life could be slipping through her hands, she quit her position as a lawyer and vowed to thrive.
Supported by her loving family of two daughters and a high-school sweetheart for a husband, Laura completed her cancer treatments in 2009. During the time that she was fighting for her life, Laura managed to find her renewed passion for life. This amazing woman has allowed us to follow her journey with her critically acclaimed sophomore album that is nothing short of “brilliant and emotionally naked”, “I’m Still Here” and her memoir, Rocking the Pink: Finding Myself on the Other Side of Cancer.
Learn more about Laura at www.lauraroppe.com
One of the Original Kettlebell Kampers
Her story in her own words
In the fall of 2008, at age 39, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I was completely taken by surprise. Before my diagnosis, whenever I read an article about breast cancer, I would reassure myself that there was almost no chance I would get breast cancer, even though over 200,000 women are diagnosed each year. I was leading a healthy life. I was young. I exercised. I ate a nutritious diet. I wasn’t overweight. I didn’t smoke. Most importantly, in my mind, I didn’t have a family history of breast cancer. Basically, I had none of the standard risk factors for breast cancer, but I quickly learned that a lack of risk factors doesn’t mean you will never get breast cancer.
One night as I was putting my son to bed, I noticed that my left breast hurt when I was lying on my side. It bothered me for several days before I finally found a small lump. I was alarmed and scared, but thought for sure it would turn out to be nothing. Unfortunately, it didn’t, but I can’t believe how fortunate I was to have that warning – most breast cancers are painless and I wasn’t doing regular self-exams.
In January 2009, I had surgery. I was so thankful that my tumors (there turned out to be several small ones) were identified as stage 1. Even though I was stage 1, I was still advised to undergo chemotherapy, so in March, I started on the first of 4 rounds of chemo. I have to say that, while the entire experience was difficult and traumatic for all of us, losing my hair was definitely the worst moment. Once I lost my hair, I was terribly self-conscious and I just couldn’t look in the mirror anymore without immediately thinking
“Oh my God, I have cancer – how did this happen?”.
I am in awe of those women who feel confident enough to go through treatment without wearing a wig, but that just wasn’t comfortable for me, so I was lucky enough to find The Brighter Side, which is a little shop in Solana Beach that sells wigs for breast cancer patients. They were so patient and caring in helping me find a wig that I liked and that made me feel a little bit like myself again. That’s why I think the charity Michelle has selected for the Bells For Boobies fundraiser is so special. It provides money for wigs to women who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. It may seem like a small thing given the rest of what these women are going through,
but I believe it’s so important in helping give them a more confident and positive outlook while they are in treatment.
You can even have some fun and go with a different look – I decided to go brunette!
Since my diagnosis, I’ve done a lot of research and made some changes in my life – my least favorite of which is cutting way back on the wine that I love, but one of the most important factors that I’ve found in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer is exercise. I did exercise regularly before my diagnosis, but I looked at it as more of an indulgence – something I did for vanity reasons. After doing the research, I realize exercise is crucial to my health and is something that I owe to myself and my family. Exercise reduces every woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, but for a breast cancer survivor, it’s even more startling. New research has shown that regular exercise reduces a breast cancer survivor’s risk of dying from the disease by 50% and it decreases the risk of a recurrence by 40%. Amazing, huh?
This December will be the 3rd anniversary of my diagnosis. I am so thankful that I am cancer-free and healthy. Like most difficult life experiences, I’m glad it’s over (Amen!), but I also appreciate how it changed me for the better.
Hi Ladies! We raised $2700 for you this year! (almost $1000 more than last year!) Today was our Think Pink/Bells 4 Boobies Workout.