Lauren Lopriore, October 2021
Lauren Lopriore's Story Behind Beauty
This is Lauren Lopriore's story, written by Lauren herself. You can find her full cancer story on her website, Liv & Let.
“Live in the Moment”, “Live for Today”, “Let your Hair Down”, “Let your Light Shine” are all tough phrases to live by when you are a perfectionist. My name is Lauren Lopriore, I am a stay-at-home mom to a 3.5 year old, a breast cancer survivor and now a budding entrepreneur. I’ve always been one to look 10 years down the road to make sure my life plans fall perfectly into place. These phrases abovetook on a whole new meaning 4 years ago when I received a diagnosis that would forever change my life, how I live it, and how I let things happen.
In September of 2014, I found a lump under my arm and on my right breast. It took until February of 2015 to be diagnosed with stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer; estrogen, progesterone, and Her-2 positive. I would later find out I was also positive for the BRCA (breast cancer) gene. My treatment regimen moved forward quickly. Before I started I went through IVF (In Vetro Fertilization) to save my eggs before they would be destroyed by chemo. I then went through 6 intense chemotherapy treatments (Taxotere® + Perjeta®) , Herceptin® -a 12 month treatment targeting the HER2 positive cells, a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy, reconstruction surgery, and completed 30 rounds of radiation.
A year from my diagnosis, I completed my treatment and entered into survivorship. I had completed all of my treatments and surgery, however now came the everyday worrying of what to do next to make sure my cancer stayed away. I would see my oncologist every 3 months for checkups, but there would be no more scans, no more chemo treatments, no more surgeries and no more visits to the radiologist. Survivorship to me, would end up being the most difficult part of all. My support system started to vanish, the little support that I had. Everyone felt that because my doctor had said I was “in remission” that I was healthy and feeling good. It was quite the opposite. The cancer had been removed and there was no other sign of it in my body, however the anxiety I already had continued to grow. Would it come back? Was the tamoxifen (estrogen receptor modulator) I was on going to keep it away? What would I need to do to make sure my cancer never came back?
In 2019, I started “Liv & Let”- Thriving Through Breast Cancer (LivandLet.com). This was four years after I was diagnosed with stage 3 triple positive breast cancer and positive for the BRCA gene. After not having a lot of resources at my fingertips, fighting cancer with a very small support team and later becoming a support for friends who had been diagnosed with cancer, I decided it was time to share my story and talk about being a young adult cancer survivor.
I started to share my story through my writing. I created a blog platform called Liv & Let, where I began sharing my breast cancer journey. As I continued writing and sharing, I realized that I wanted to provide the breast cancer community with more. Liv & Let became an information hub that is updated regularly with a calendar of events, a list of resources and essential products for those who have recently been diagnosed, those going through treatment, those who are learning about their family history and interested in prevention as well as for caregivers. Liv and Let is dedicated to giving strength and hope to those affected by breast cancer- previvors, survivors and caregivers. By nurturing and providing comprehensive knowledge, the hope is to provide individualized support as well as essential items to thrive through treatment and survivorship.
Born after a deep conversation on a bench in a forest preserve, I launched Giv by Liv & Let. Giv by Liv & Let assembles personalized curated caring crates created with love and thought for loved ones who are thriving through cancer. Each “build your own” lux crate is beautifully packaged with hand selected items to provide each individual and recipient with love, care and support. The purchase of each crate directly supports the donation of one crate a month to a previvor, survivor or caregiver as well as an organization hosting a fundraising event.
Along with Liv & Let, I started The Giv Shoppe. It stemmed from the caring crates, allowing for those who received a basket or bag to come back to a familiar space to find support for other parts of their cancer experience. I wanted someone who received a basket before their chemotherapy to be able to find helpful items to support them before and after their surgery or bring them comfort after radiation. Most importantly, I wanted to create an environment where one could be surrounded by not just items to support them through cancer treatment, but to bring self care and comfort in survivorship. This part of cancer has been the hardest and I’m still learning every day how important self care and taking care of your mind and body are both physically and mentally. The Giv Shoppe will have essentials for those impacted by cancer, but it will also carry unique finds to enhance one’s own self care each and every day. I believe these products will surprise, satisfy, bring comfort and allow you to be you. One day my hope is that Liv & Let becomes a non-profit, allowing for more to feel the support through more resources, shared stories, known events, gifted crates and donations! The GivShoppe.com will support the creation of crates as well as partner with organizations bringing awareness to breast cancer research and education as well as mental illness.
And when it comes to owning your own beauty? To be honest, it’s hard to initially say I love my unique beauty and the journey I’ve been on. It’s been a hard road with the cards I was dealt. So many ups and downs filled with a lot of emotions. Recently though, I found myself on a solo trip at a wellness resort and the love and kindness I have been searching for started to shine. I am ME - blonde, bald or brunette, happy or sad, vocal or shy, filled with scars, sympathy and love. I have always wanted to be unique starting as a young child. I didn’t want to follow the crowd, I wanted to do my own thing. It may have been hard to be the odd man out especially in school, but by sticking to my values, I allowed for me to be me. Many times feeling out of place, not feeling like I could share my opinion made me feel sad. Strangely this journey I call “cancer sucks” has allowed for my uniqueness and my voice to be seen by not only those around me but ME. My husband has always seen my uniqueness and beauty, but until my daughter’s love was brought into my life I really couldn’t see or feel it. It’s amazing what a small child can do for your spirit and how they can make you feel beautiful. Cancer has taken a lot from me and it will continue in many ways, however the beauty I see in others, in nature and the things I experience now is unlike I ever have before.
Do you or someone you know have an amazing story that you want to share? Through all of our life struggles, we firmly believe that your beauty shines through it all. If you think you have an interesting story behind your brand of beauty, we're looking for real women, with real life stories, to share with our community. Fill out our survey to share it with us!SUBMIT YOUR STORY HERE