October is a poignant month for me. You see, my mom passed away on October 15, 1995 from complications from metastatic breast cancer. I was 21 years old. She was only 48.

Way too young. Both of us. Me, too young to lose my mother. My mother, way too young to die.

And ironically October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, I like to call it BREAST HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH instead.

This is more than an abstract pink-ribbon month for me. It’s personal. For me, I’d rather focus on having a healthy and balanced body.

At the age of 21 I made a choice. I was not going to go down the road of my mother’s body. I was going to do what I could, on a daily basis, to take good care of myself. I realized I had two choices: I could choose FEAR or I could choose LOVE. I chose LOVE. Love for myself, my body, my breasts, my health, my future.

And so, decades before I would eventually become a holistic health coach and nutrition consultant, I started to pay attention to my health in a way most 21-year-olds don’t. For years I’ve been clearing out potential carcinogens like harmful beauty products and cleaning supplies, unnecessary plastics, toxic food, and even harmful stress and mindsets (and people). I wasn’t anywhere near perfect (and I’m still not) but I have been making a conscious effort to be mindful of what goes on my body, in body, near my body.

Let me take a moment to tell you a little about my mom because I don’t want her to be defined by how she died. My mom was a strong woman and taught my sister and me to be strong women, too. She put herself through college at UC Santa Barbara and taught high school her entire adult life (first home economics and then history when they began to phase out home ec classes). She loved to shop and had a great eye for color. She was a fantastic gift giver and would shower us with presents at Christmas, often with gifts she had been collecting for us all year. She was actually very “crafty” and made all sorts of decorations (many of which we still have). She loved going to Hawaii, visiting historical sites, and planning amazing trips for our family. She could be incredibly “thrifty” but also was incredibly generous. We didn’t always agree (what mother and daughter do?) but I never doubted that she loved us deeply. Or that she continues to watch over us.

This is a picture of my family at my sister’s graduation from high school, just four months before we’d lose our mother. (My sister asked me to crop it! LOL!)

Each year I choose a different way to honor and celebrate my mother and this year it is the form of hosting a pop up event focusing on breast health and safer, cleaner beauty. Please join me. Here are all the details:

Please join me and Carolyn Bernstein, Integrative Nurse Practitioner and breast health specialist for our Breast Health and Cleaner, Safer Beauty Pop Up!

Thursday, November 1: 7:00 p.m. in Oakland, CA (exact location TBA)

At this small, intimate event we will address:

  • How our personal care products are affecting our health and may contribute to cancer risk, autoimmune issues, hormonal imbalance, allergies, and many other health concerns.
  • How to make cleaner, safer choices in terms of our beauty products, foods, and self-care practices.
  • How to read labels on your beauty products and what to look for. (Bring one or two of your favorites and we can take a look together!)

We’ll also have to sample a line of non-toxic makeup and skincare from Beautycounter! It’ll be fun to play with some of our favorite products and hear what this B Corporation is doing to move the market to safety!

***This is a FREE event but please RSVP HERE so that we can plan the space accordingly!**

Light refreshments will be served!

We will be meeting in Oakland–exact location TBA via email as the event gets closer. Please be sure to RSVP here!

Can’t make the event but want to make difference . . . please consider making a donation to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP). BCPP works to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. They are a founding member and national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition working to eliminate dangerous chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products.

Curious about safer, cleaner beauty products? Take a moment to check out Beautycounter products here: https://www.beautycounter.com/michelledwyer I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite products in future blog posts!

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