Thriver Spotlight: Meet Our Bud, Juliet
Our bud and breast cancer thriver, Juliet, is a 33-year-old mom of two and a woman of faith, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find her dancing on a table in a restaurant.
This self-proclaimed “holy and a little hood” spicy Mexican warrior is as inspiring as she is spirited. She met our founder Kathleen through Hip-Hop Happy Hour (our favorite virtual Friday evening hangout) and always brings the energy and smiles. This is her story.
ICYMI: we went live on Instagram with Juliet in August as part of our Thriver Thursday series – check out the convo here!
Juliet’s Cancer Story
Juliet was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) stage 2A after finding a lump in her breast, thanks to her toddler using it as a comfort cushion. The diagnosis was intimidating, but talking about it proved even more so.
Juliet says as a Mexican woman, she “grew up under a rock” when it came to health issues, especially cancer: “It’s taboo to speak about cancer in the Hispanic/Mexican community – why should we feel ashamed? We didn’t do anything to get cancer.” Now, she’s breaking her cultural rules and raising awareness, so others don’t have to feel hampered.
Treatment, Hope, and Healing
Diagnosed right before the pandemic, Juliet had to go to appointments alone and delay her plans for cosmetology school. The treatment ahead of her would be bumpy, but her faith kept her grounded.
Juliet required a double mastectomy, which she faced bravely, knowing her worth was within her. Juliet even asked the nurses to play “WAP” while getting anesthesia for her double mastectomy (talk about the ultimate female body empowerment song)! But when the surgery proved more invasive than expected, it threw her for a loop.
“That first time when you look yourself in the mirror, that’s hard.”
More prominent scars, an infection, and necrosis led to a revision surgery, which brought Juliet to a hard place mentally. “I was starting to spiral,” she said. She chose to focus on what she was thankful for and remember it would take time to love her new body.
A mindset shift around cancer isn’t so black and white, though. After learning she needed radiation treatment, Juliet found herself not planning for the future. But she gave herself a wake-up call, manifesting “I’m going to be there” for later events.
Healing isn’t linear, and Juliet chooses to celebrate the small wins along the way. She even raised a “glass” to her day 1 of Tamoxifen on our Instagram Live.
We’ve talked about parenting with cancer before and how it’s different for everyone. When you’ve got an eleven-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son, your treatment is not just about you. Juliet is using this situation to teach her kids about curiosity, transparency, and compassion.
Juliet’s daughter is mature for her age, but she knew she’d need help going through this, too. When asked how much she’d like to know about her mother’s cancer, she said, “Mom, can you please be honest with everything?”
“I’d rather her know from me than listening to conversations and investigating from behind closed doors,” said Juliet.
Juliet also told her daughter’s school counselor about the diagnosis right away to have resources outside of home.
Her toddler son’s experience was slightly different. He saw her naked after the mastectomy and worriedly said, “Mommy - booboos?!” Then something changed in his face, and he walked over to give a sweet kiss on her stomach and said, “It’s ok, Mama.”
Juliet felt guilty for not giving her kids the most fun summer, especially her preteen daughter. But friends were so willing to involve the kids in activities, which took the pressure off: “Lean on your friends and family to invite your children to the park, bowling, etc. They need distractions, too.”
Let’s get to know her better!
Fun Facts About Juliet
She loves doing hair and makeup, but has worked in healthcare since graduating high school.
She used to have six-pack abs.
She rocks fake eyelashes and is a pro at “eyebrow catfishing.”
Wellness rituals: Since diagnosis, Juliet started practicing yoga and high-intensity workouts, which help manage stress.
Juliet’s Support and Community
Juliet has had incredible support from her husband, kids, and friend tribe. The experience has strengthened her marriage more than ever before.
Juliet’s also thankful for the online communities (like buddhi!) that help her connect with other cancer thrivers and survivors. Her speaking up has been not only freeing for her, but also for other women who weren’t brave enough – or in a culturally accepting environment – to do so. Juliet loves hearing from other sister warriors who she’s inspired to feel less alone.
Her other bestie through all of this? Cosmetics and hair. “Makeup has helped me cope with a lot of those self-conscious issues. When I’m feeling like crap, I come in my room and do full glam.”
We look forward to more of her Instagram tutorials, which you can follow over on her page @julietbeauty_28. As Juliet says, “Keep going. Put your lipstick on.”