Career: Health Policy Manager
Turning Pain into Purpose
My background is in healthcare yet when I was told in March of 2021 that I would need breast cancer surgery. I was in complete shock. My friends and family will tell you I still carried on with the same positivity and humor I share today, but naturally everything changed. Your life is completely turned upside down. There is nothing to prepare you for a situation like this; I have so much admiration and respect for women that have shared similar experiences.
When I heard the statistic that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer, I immediately found myself looking around at my friends; I never want anyone else to experience the pain I went through, and if I could prevent it somehow that’s what I would dedicate my life to doing.
Suddenly, I felt a laser focus to not only continue working in healthcare, but to learn more about advocacy. One month after my double mastectomy I began reaching out to local breast cancer organizations to share my story. In the last year I’ve become increasingly active in the breast cancer community, speaking at events, focusing on health education, community outreach, and awareness. For newly diagnosed women, I make myself available to help navigate the many resources available, since the beginning can be overwhelming. Sometimes I’ll receive a message from someone who has a question about insurance coverage or they aren’t sure how to support a loved one who has been diagnosed.
One of the biggest concerns for cancer patients is cost. Cost of medication, hospitalization, surgery, or any treatment. As a healthcare professional it was something I was well aware of at the time of my own diagnosis, and something I am working to improve now in my work. My experience pushed me to pursue a career as a health advocate and policy manager.
Basically, my job is to look at current state and federal policies and make recommendations that will improve outcomes for patients on a broad level. It’s a team effort since we work with hospital management and government officials to manage budgets and propose legislation that can impact the healthcare system.
October is known as
Breast Cancer Awareness month
However, this is an issue that affects men and women year round. Early detection saves lives and remember that knowledge is power. So know your risks, know your body, and know your options!
Breast cancer survivors are pushed to their limits, but you come out on the other side a different person, and if you’re like me, you can turn your pain into purpose.
Back to shoes
1.Which style of shoes make you feel your best? Why?
I have two styles: closed toe stiletto pumps and pointed toe flats. In the summertime I’ll wear sandals, but I feel most comfortable in pointed toe flats or pointed toe stilettos. I think it’s because my mom was a big style influence growing up and as I watched her go to work I began to emulate her style.
2.What factors do you consider the most when purchasing shoes and why?
Comfort is a big factor. Especially in the past two years as I traveled more for work and I tend to be on my feet 10 hours a day. I still like to wear heels and I don’t mind wearing them but I do feel differences between certain styles, materials, and brands.
3. What is your understanding of eco-fashion?
I think my generation is definitely more conscious of the environment and our effect on the planet. Recycling items can be a great way to reduce our impact. I also like to buy key items and keep them for long periods of time. I’ve had one of my favorite trench coats for 11 years and it still holds up really well. That’s what is great about timeless pieces; they last much better than trendy ones. I love that VIVAIA shoes have that sustainability factor to it.
4.What does a nice pair of shoes mean to you?
To me what separates a great pair of shoes is the comfort, the quality of craftsmanship, and how you feel when you wear them.
5.If you could describe yourself as a shoe, which type of shoe would it be?
Tough question! I would say I describe myself as a ballet flat. Grounded, chic, and ready for the day!
6.Where have you been wearing VIVAIA? How was it? Any particular feelings from our shoes? What’s the biggest difference compared to other shoes?
We’re less than two months away from the midterm elections, so it’s a busy time for anyone in politics! I love that these flats are comfortable and professional. I can wear them to the airport but also to a business meeting, and I can be on my feet for hours without any complaints. The fact that they’re machine washable is also a huge plus!
I can totally relate to all of the above, mentioned vignettes. I too had breast cancer, a total surprise. Family history did not forecast this. I was lucky that it was caught early and after surgery for an upper L breast mass, I underwent radiation. One reaches out to everyone, not just family. As a nurse, I know too much and feared too much. After 2 years, I am still in remission and grateful. We are family.
Hi Kate, thank you for sharing and I’m so glad to hear you are in remission and doing well! I think working in healthcare there’s a sense of understanding the situation from a different perspective, for me the cost of treatment was a harsh reality I was well aware of for example, and at the same time it’s still very overwhelming as a patient. Thank you again sending my best! -Andrea