Warrior Stories Vol II: Michelle P.

Every year during the month of October, for every WINK sold, we donate one to a cancer warrior, to help their lashes and brows, lost through chemotherapy. In partnership with the Breast Cancer Charities of America, we are sharing these warrior’s stories, as powerful examples of how your gift is directly helping breast cancer patients across America.

This week we share the story of one of those warriors, Michelle Passarella, in her own words:

In May 2014, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 HER2+ER+3+PR+. My last treatment was October 3rd, 2015. Due to treatments, my immune system has been compromised. I get ill often, have neuropathy in my hands and feet, and fall all the time. My life has slowed down tremendously.

I found the Breast Cancer Charities of America through the internet. I receive most of my support through meditation groups, long walks on the beach and participating in a lot of charity runs.


Michelle running a breast cancer run

Michelle at a charity run

My best advice is keep fighting! I unleashed my inner “Warrior” as “we” breast cancer survivors put it. During my treatments, I still had running. It was my therapy, and it saved me. I imagined each finish line as me reaching the point where I’m about to be. I would cry each time I finished a race and look for the next race to participate in because it meant another week I am living. I had to look cancer in the face and not hide from it. I would walk through some days without a wig, not because I wanted sympathy, but because wigs bothered my skin. Let me tell you how liberating it is to feel rain drops on the coconut; very therapeutic, just saying!”


Oh my god, how can you not love Michelle’s spirit?

She painted a really powerful picture of resiliency of the human spirit. I really wish I could just give her a hug!

In case you don’t know what Michelle meant by “Stage 1 HER2+ER+3+PR+” (I didn’t!), here’s a guide to understanding what the different diagnoses mean, and what the treatment looks like for each one.

It is really important that breast cancer is caught early, as an early disagnosis greatly improves the chances of survival, and usually decreases the severity of treatment needed.

Check yourself, using this guide, every 1st of the month. Early detection really i key: it’s what saved my grandma’s life when she encountered breast cancer, and it’s what probably saved Michelle’s, too.

And even though Michelle liked to “feel drops of rain on the coconut” (I loved that line :P), getting your hair, brows and lashes back after the long battle can help you start to feel like yourself again. Give someone that gift this October, by purchasing WINK today (here) for yourself and a cancer warrior.

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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