How this young single mother copes with her breast cancer diagnosis
Learning to live your life during the pain instead of after: Jolie Dopa Q&A
We were taught that success was measured by grades, degrees, job status, and good credit. But as a mother, I do not want that for my son. I want his success to be measured by his happiness. I want his success to be measured by his self confidence and independence. To ensure that his outlook on life isn’t shaped by society’s expectations, I must be present and continue to influence him.
As mothers, we play this vital role in helping shape our children’s thought process, values, identity, and their definition of happiness. We are essential in teaching our children how to think, act, and interact in this World. We know this, it is a burden and blessing that we carry with us in everything that we do. We center our lives around it. Think about it. When you are told something, asked to go somewhere, to buy anything... what is your first thought? 9 x 10 it is how will, when will, what will effect my child in this decision.
For some women, no matter how much they want to be there for their children, they cannot be. They are given news that even the bravest would be fearful of. News such as “you have congestive heart failure”, “you have cancer”, “you have kidney failure”, “your time is limited.” So many mothers go from planning their children’s future to fighting to be apart of that future. How do they cope with that? How do they wake up every day with knowing that? Many times we hear the stories of those that overcame their diagnosis but not of those that are fighting to overcome it. The women who still face the uncertainty of life, of happiness, of motherhood.... Meet Jolie Dopa. Jolie is a young mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is still fighting to overcome this battle, yet she does not let it define who she is. Check out our interview below with this resilient soul as she talks cancer, perspective, happiness and more:
What advice would you give to mothers who are battling a terminal disease? Many times as women when we have a child, we put our needs and ourselves in the background. We starve ourselves as mothers because it is in our nature to put our kids first. You see life differently once you are diagnosed because all of a sudden time is not on your side. You want to be in your child’s life for as long as you can. What you have to understand is that in order to be there for as long as you can, you have to put some focus back into you. To be the best mother you can be, you have to take care of you. You have to take that moment to be an individual again. Once you create a healthier lifestyle, your mind is not as clouded and you can focus more. Learning to love you, understand you, and take care of you makes you an even better parent. It puts you in a better space to cope with your diagnosis.
What is your opinion on annual checkups and the medical field in general? I think that annual checkups are important. I have a cousin who swears she is going to get cancer. Her mom passed away from it and we have it a lot on her dad’s side as well. She called me because the doctors would not test her because of her age. I say that to say if you are not getting what you want from your doctors take measures to take care of yourself. Yes, checkups and routine visits are important. However, we have to learn how to self-heal and take care of ourselves. You need to invest into your health and do your own research. You cannot expect a stranger to care for you more than you do. The medical field and this society is tricky. If you do not have an awakened spirit, you are going to be told how to live, eat, and sleep. Just because it is coming from a doctor, does not mean that is the best option out there for you. Take the steps to make sure you are eating the right things and putting good things into your system every day. That is the first step, learning what works for you. No one in the medical field can learn you better than you can learn yourself.
What is a good source to find information on healthier eating habits? I love and would recommend watching Ralph Smart’s YouTube channel, Infinite Waters. He has been on a raw vegan diet for 10 years and he posts videos everyday regarding his journey. When you eat better, you think better so make it a habit.
Did you explain your diagnosis to your son? No. He is three years old and I do not want him to have a fear-based perspective on my diagnosis. Yes, this is happening to me. However, it does not mean that his life changes for the worst. I am a single mom and I could have looked at my pregnancy as a terrible thing but I changed my perspective. I have learned that how you perceive things shapes how it will effect you mentally, physically, and emotionally. I want him to stay in that childlike energy for as long as he can. I want him to have a positive perspective on who his mommy is and what she is doing. He has asked me before why my hair has fallen out, where I go when I’m receiving treatment, etc. and I answer his questions in a way that still preserves that youthful energy.
How did your views on life and expectations for yourself change? Everything you thought was important changes when you face the possibility of death being closer than you thought. Especially the way that the United States paints cancer. Cancer equals death in this society. I was at a point that I was over it, if it happened, it happened. However, once I started realigning myself with who I truly was... life began to have a new meaning. I began to understand my true purpose. My dreams and my goals shifted, I wanted to live my life in that purpose. I did not want to spend whatever time I had left feeling helpless.
What are your fears now? I do not have any. I have always been that type of person that rises above fear instead of being torn down by it. Fear is just an illusion, it is all about that moment and how you react. I have learned that our bodies can do so much when tested and that our perspective of pain is over the top. For example, part of my treatment involves a port they place in me in which they push this super thick needle. Sounds painful right? It is not. Why? It is simply a mind over matter thing; you would be surprised by what your mind allows you to overcome. Once you overcome, your “fears” mentally you realize it was all just an illusion.
What gives you the strength to fight and continue pursuing your work as an artist? This is what matters at the end of the day. I will die. I want to make sure that when I do, I accomplished everything I desired as a person. I want to make sure that if it is a week or fifty years from now, I had the right perspective on who I was. Having this positive outlook has brought me so many blessings. Before this happened I was trying to figure out how to inspire others and how to create myself as an artist. This has been one of the best things to happen to me because it shakes people up. It makes them think, “Oh my God! People really do die, it can happen…” I am showing people that you do not have to just crumble or wait to be cancer free to live your life. Live in your purpose and be passionate about yourself every day, no matter what.
What do you want your music to represent? I have always felt music in my soul. My father introduced me to so many genres of music. He was so passionate about music; it made me excited. I want people to experience that same excitement and spiritual release. I want who ever listens to my music to experience freedom because nothing is right or wrong. If you have beautiful intentions, it does not matter. People live in this reality of pleasing others and their not enjoying their lives. They are following other people’s rules and that does not make sense. I want my music to encourage free thought, expression, and whatever outlook they want to take on it.
What is self-love? Knowing who you are. Taking that time to know who you are, knowing that you are an ever-changing force. That can be hard for people because we live in a World where change is not always accepted. Understand that we are just spirits living a human existence so we will be forever changing. Embrace it and in turn, you will begin to fall in love with all the different variations of you.
What is sexy? Is it ok to be sexy and a mother? OMG! My answer is that we as women are phenomenal, we can do so many things that a man cannot do. We bring life into this World and we can carry the load of so many things at once. Once you become a mother, they will try to desexualize you. NO. Women lose the sexiness factor within because they lose so much of themselves in sharing their body when creating life. Do not allow yourself to get lost into this space and do not start to become a hater because someone may have healed differently than you after childbirth. You have to make sure you can walk in heels, keep that pussy tight, etc.; tighten up and put that work in. Period. Own your body, own how you view yourself and do not apologize for it. You should feel even sexier when you have a child.
What is success? I think that we look at success as having money. However, once you get that you will realize that money is empty. You feel empty. So what do you do now? True success is happiness with life and self.
What is happiness? Everything is energy; happiness is a higher energy in which you find peace within yourself. When you get to that higher vibration, it starts to attract “happier and healthier” energies to you. Understand that when you are operating at a low energy sometimes blessing will come to guide you towards your higher energy. Society makes us ashamed to admit that we are not happy. Sometimes when you are on a lower vibration, blessings will come to elevate you but you have to be willing to accept the help. Our pride and refusal to be rescued leaves us to lose our blessings and not reach that higher vibration. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you need guidance, you need help, to reach your highest self.