“Will I LIVE through this? Will I ever be able to get married or have children? What will my body look like?” These were the frightening questions Timea Gaines was faced with, after being diagnosed with stage two breast cancer at only 27 years old.
But beyond a life changing diagnosis, Gaines had a relentless desire to succeed. Just one year later, she’s managed to graduate with a 4.0 from her master’s program, manage her branding company Love Life Media, publish Beauty For Ashes Now: A 21 Day Journey to Becoming Beautifully Broken Masterpieces, and produce a SheROCKS event—which honors women excelling in business and the arts, all while undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, etc.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Gaines to learn how she managed to spread #BlackGirlMagic, while undergoing cancer treatments.
Black Enterprise: How were you diagnosed?
Gaines: I felt an unusual lump on my chest so when I went for a routine physical examination I mentioned it to my doctor. She referred me to have an ultrasound done, which led to a biopsy; that’s how it was determined that I had breast cancer.
BE: Take us back to the days when you were juggling cancer and your career. How did you find the strength to go after your dreams?
Gaines: Physically, I was determined to practice self-care by eating right and eating daily (even when I didn’t feel like it). I got dressed up every day because I knew my outer appearance was a reflection of my inward being. I found the mental strength to get through it because I understood that your mind arrives at a destination before your life does. I knew that if I wanted to live, I had to think and speak life even when I saw death. My faith in God played a vital role in my survival. I would pray and repeat affirmations and scriptures every day.
Every day, I had to wake up and get shots in my stomach. I had chemo once a week and somehow ended up in urgent care almost every other week. While keeping barf bags at my bedside and taking 20+ medications, I would read through chapters of assignments for my grad courses. I was simultaneously working my business at least three days a week.
When I got closer to the SheROCKS event I would wake up every morning and go to radiation and keep my phone handy for emails, calls, and responding to emails. Sometimes, it was overwhelming and I would cry, but I would stop and think, “Timea, someone is counting on you. If you give up it’s because you chose to, so don’t choose to. Quitting is a choice, just like winning is a choice.” My condition wasn’t made for winning, but I was built to win.
BE: Can you share three tips for bouncing back from business setbacks?
- Build a Tribe of Purpose Partners
Identify and connect with people who share your vision and are strong in business where you are weak. My tribe has helped me reestablish my business and leverage new business relationships.
- Practice Self-Care and Soul-Care Daily
Our body is the engine that keeps us going, if we don’t take care of it, it will burn out and so will our dreams. If our soul is nurtured along with our body, even if our body gets weak a good spirit will keep us strong.
- Be Consistent and Intentional
Know what you want to accomplish and form consistent habits that will get you to that goal. I’ve been picky about the clients and opportunities I accept. Wasted time is worse than wasted money because once you spend it you can never get it back.