Name: Audrey Lee Darrow
Diagnosed At Age: 47
Status: Cancer-free 10 years this month
Bio: A college graduate with a degree in physical education, Audrey was a stay-at-home mom for 17 years. She is now 56, and the founder and president of Earth Source Organics, a raw, superfood manufacturing company. In 2002, Audrey started her first business. She opened a deli and then after she got it going , she was “hit” with breast cancer. She closed the deli after becoming very ill after treatment and went home for a year to try to deal with the after effects. In 2006, Audrey started her food manufacturing company born out of illness and the desire to create healthy foods at more affordable prices, so everyone could afford to buy them.
My reaction when I was first diagnosed: Get it out of me! I wanted to do whatever I had to do to get well. I had no idea what was to come.
How I’m feeling now: I have some health issues, but no cancer for 10 years. I now have chronic fibromyalgia and arthritis, as well a lot of chest pain from doing breast reconstruction in 2009-2011. Overall though, I am feeling empowered for having gone through the cancer and coming out better for it on the other end, and that is what gets me up every morning in joy.
My inspirations: My son, my work and my employees, my customers, my friends and family, my spirituality.
My support system: My Angel daughter who inspires me every day, my son, mom, my boyfriend and a host of friends and family.
I’m proud of: My son, the business I created, the person I have become, and the ability I have to draw other people to me that need my inspiration, as well as being able to help them through their journey.
I’m afraid of: Nothing now. I have been through the worst.
I’ve learned: That I am stronger than I ever thought I was. I have my Angel daughter with me every day. Dying is not what I think it is, and I am no longer afraid of it. I am capable of doing anything I want, and the only thing that has ever gotten in my way was me. I have learned that cancer is always a lesson to teach us something, not a burden or a curse. It is a gift to open our hearts and our spirit and to let us know the path we were on was not working. My intuition had told me that over and over, but I didn’t listen until I heard the C-word. We (women) always do this to ourselves. We have all the signs we need to change our ways, but we ignore them. That is what cancer is, a lesson to help us see the error of our ways.
My advice to new patients: Surrender. When you surrender, you don’t know how things are going to work out. You just let go and do the next thing. Each thing you do in your life is really important. When you are surrendered, you never really know until later how important each thing that you do is. It might be a part of healing the past or an important piece of getting to where you are going. If you are surrendered, you are just doing each thing as it comes.
Someone sent me this when I was sick and it became my Bible, and to this day it is how I live each day. “Get up everyday, put your feet on the floor and say your gratitude prayer! Be grateful for everything you have in your life today. That will get you through every minute, every hour and every day for the rest of your life.”
Don’t be afraid of dying because cancer is your teacher. We never die, we only continue on this journey in a different way. I learned that from my daughter’s passing from this world to another. She is the lucky one and the rest of us have to stay here until we finish our lessons!