Ihave always been an positive person,” shares India. “But now I have a different outlook on life. Instead of ‘why?’, it’s ‘why not?’ For my birthday two years ago, I went parasailing. I used to be deathly afraid of that sort of thing, but now, I believe in trying new things.”
So what brought about such a change in this dynamic woman? As is often the case, it was deep loss that brought India to where she is today.
It was India’s 37th year that proved to be so life changing. That was the year that she and her husband of two years, Marcus, began to try to have children–something India always knew she wanted to do–and it also marked India’s first mammogram. “Because my grandmother had breast cancer, my OB wanted me to start getting mammograms at 37, and the very first one I had came back abnormal,” she shares. Although India was not initially concerned, a second test came back abnormal as well, and she was soon diagnosed with DCIS Stage 0 breast cancer.
She underwent a lumpectomy, had seven rounds of radiation and was then considered to be in remission.
At that point, India was ready to start thinking about kids again, but her doctors were very skeptical, since the estrogen from a pregnancy could easily make her cancer come back. “At first they said we could revisit it in three years, and at the three year point, they said let’s wait five years,” recalls India. “At five years, they said we should consider adoption.” However, soon the couple realized that wasn’t the best choice for their family, and India come face-to-face with a hard reality: “In the beginning, I was crushed,” she shares. “But once my husband and I decided it would just be the two of us, I realized not everyone is meant to be a parent, and slowly learned to be okay with that. I have a large family, so I looked at it as an opportunity to build better relationships with my nieces and nephews and young cousins.”
And that it when something shifted inside of India. The first thing she did was buy herself a new car: a Lexus GS300. Then, she cut her shoulder-length hair into a pixie cut and colored it for the first time in her life. “I’m just putting more into myself now,” explains India. “I am wearing makeup now, and I never used to before. I experiment with different colors and types of makeup. I’m also trying to lose weight, and I put more into the outfits I wear. I have a new outlook on life.” And while India’s husband is a huge fan of her new look and lease on life, he’s certainly not the only one who has noticed the changes: “People at work can’t believe my transformation,” India laughs.
Traveling is also a big part of India’s life now. “My husband and I went to Miami for the first time. We went to Puerto Rico. We went to Savannah,” she means it’s time for a girlfriends trip! India and her girlfriends have recently enjoyed vacations to New York City, Cancun and New Orleans.
Another huge change? India has started her own business. “I became interest in event planning when I planned my own wedding, so I took some planning courses and became a certified event planner,” she shares. India is now planning all types of events, and just finished her first wedding. The goal? To eventually take her business full time.
“I just live life to the fullest and step out of my comfort zone all the time now,” shares India. “If the opportunity presents itself, I’m doing it.”
■ Emily L. Foley