EL PASO, Texas -- It's the 7th of the month, our monthly reminder, sponsored by El Paso Electric, for everyone to keep abreast of their health. Women should do self-exams, and get an annual mammogram.
Chia Wollschlager's life was saved after she went in for her very first mammogram. She was 40, and her doctor told her it was time. She thought she was in the clear, until she got that dreaded phone call to come back to the office, and bring someone with her. She took her sister. The news they received - that Chia had breast cancer - was devastating. Perhaps more devastating was that they realized they knew nothing about cancer.
"The first thing you hear when you hear cancer is you think you're going to die," says Wollschlager. "I see this in a lot of people where you say you have cancer and their eyes just kind of turn black."
Wollschlager's treatment at MD Anderson included 12 weeks of daily radiation treatments. She is now cancer free, but her focus hasn't wavered.
The single mother decided to empower other cancer patients with knowledge, from the moment they are diagnosed. After her recovery, she sold her business, re-evaluated her priorities, and now spends more time with her daughters.
She created "Chia's Silver Lining," providing a place for patients to become empowered with knowledge, support and comfort items. It guides patients through the treatment process, and offers monthly meet-ups. She doesn't talk chemistry or cures, just necessities you need and diagnosis and prevention options.
"There was so much I wish I had known. I just wanted to scream to the world and say, 'hey! Look at what I've learned and look at what I want to put out there for your life to make it that much easier," she says.
Wollschlager's message is for everyone. There are simple things we can all do to avoid cancer. For example, stay away from fried foods and processed meat. Choose organic when possible, to avoid chemicals. She also suggests replacing plastic tupperware with glass, getting physically active, and avoiding stress. Her business also sells comfort care packages for patients - a good option for those people who know someone battling cancer, and don't know how to help.
"We have products for helping your hair grow better, eyebrows, eyelashes...without the chemical component. Everything in our line is created for a reason," Wollschlager says.
For access to the blogs, products and information on "Chia's Silving Lining," click here.