I was living my life in Los Angeles doing my own thing, when one day I received a phone call from a doctor informing me my mother checked into the emergency room. After a few tests they had diagnosed her with Multiple Myeloma (a very rare blood cancer similar to Leukemia and Lymphoma). For some odd reason that moment I knew it was over. I had hope, but I had a deep burning feeling inside me that said “Go, this is it”.
I remember quietly returning to my desk, gathering my items and informing my manager what had happened and that I needed to hit the road to San Francisco immediately. Friends who I had told of the situation were worried for me as I drove through LA traffic on the I-5, but as emotional and distraught as I was, I held it together the entire way.
As I arrived at the hospital and saw her lying there hopeless and like I never have before, all I could do was embrace her, not cry, and show her that it would all be okay.
Throughout the week more tests were administered and some results were showing up as promising, but many others needed more work and time. I won’t go into detail about what I saw and how everything affected her, but one thing I will say this: Drugs, dialysis, chemotherapy, and radiation are not always the answer.
During this time, my sister and her boyfriend were pregnant and once my mother found out she was so proud and happy. I remember coming into the hospital (and because my sister and I look so much alike) the nurses and doctors saying “Congratulations” to me. I would laugh and correct them saying, “No, that’s the other blonde.” I could see the fight in my mother’s eyes, determined to meet her first-ever grandchild.
My sister and her boyfriend decided to get married quickly to make sure that our mother could attend. I remember my mother having a calendar on the wall, counting down the days until the wedding. All the while, my sister and I were shopping for outfits, shoes, hats and bringing it to our mother to try, and she would constantly call us asking, “Is the day here?” Unfortunately when the wedding day came, my mother’s health deteriorated drastically and wasn't able to attend. I watched my sister walk down the aisle by herself with strength, as I held back the tears.
Throughout the next few months, she showed some signs of improvement, until one day everything started to fall apart. Her health began to decline rapidly. Doctors informed us that medications and chemotherapy were no longer working, that physical therapy was unnecessary as she barely could move, dialysis was keeping her alive by a thread, and they were beginning to lose hope.
During that time, I set out to research alternative methods to keep her nutrition alive at least up to the moments of the birth of my nephew. I began to bring her juices I created at home by adding specific powders but when she refused to even drink those I sensed it was over yet I knew how powerful these ingredients were proven to be.
Towards the end, she wanted to be mentally and fully present to meet her grandchild so we continued with only dialysis and didn’t give her any opioids as she held strong. My sister went into labor and as she went to the hospital, I ran to my mom and told her the joyous news. I could see tears welling up in her eyes. I kissed her and said I will be back once he is here!
My sister was doing just fine and everything was running smoothly until the very last second and they had to perform an emergency C-section. My nephew was here, healthy, beautiful! And for once, I was able to cry tears of joy, not sadness. Later, I rushed to my mom and told her all about it as she lay there staring blankly at the wall, but I knew she was happy. We FaceTimed with my sister and for the first time ever she was able to see him as my sister said, “He will come meet you soon mom, very soon!”
Since my sister had a C-section she was required to stay at the hospital longer than usual. At the time, I was fundraising with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and training for the New York City Marathon. I went to see my mother before track practice and noticed her breathing was off but thought nothing of it as it was happening before. That evening I received the worst phone call of my life: she had passed.
I recall just going numb and crying until I simply couldn't cry anymore. I had to go confirm her body and some information, speak with the hospice nurse and call the mortuary. Now, I am not sure if you have ever seen a dead body, but to see your own mother stone cold, soulless and forever gone, is one of the worst sights imaginable. After the process, I went to the hospital to console with my sister, brother-in-law, and my newborn nephew.
Two months later, I ran the NYC Marathon and felt my mom’s presence the entire 26.2 miles, especially when I wanted to give up. As time passed on, I would visit my nephew often as his presence helped me through the grief. Yes, I was sad, but I never went through a rebellious stage, nor was I ever filled with anger or the need to make any poor decisions against my body or my life. Rather I wondered why God took her away and saw it as an opportunity to make changes in my own life.
When the new year rolled around I really pondered about the power of nutrition in our lives. I began to do research, read and tested various superfoods that I knew on a micro-level could truly change someone’s well being. I was determined to change the lives of many others through this education. Even though it was too late for my mother, I wanted others to be educated, not to give up but to have hope.
I searched and scoured. I emailed vendors and suppliers. I sampled. I wanted and needed to know facts, where specific ingredients are being sourced from. What procedures do they undergo? Is it certified? The research and results were never ending.
And then I thought to myself: How can I bring these products to individuals in their purest form? Powders! I didn’t want them to be some random powders I found and sold, but rather sought out to make it a brand... A community in which to grow, educate others, where the focus would be on topics such as health, cancer, fitness, wellness... A place for men, women, pregnant women, athletes, and so much more! Therefore I created Alphovo, Alph- from the word "Alpha" and ovo- from the Czech word “fruit”, in honor of my mother.
For all of you out there who have supported me, been there with me during this journey, seen me struggle, seen me breakdown, seen me be ambitious, seen me be happy, seen me be determined and most of all seen me be grateful... I Thank You! I want to serve you and if I can just bring a little hope and joy into your life than that would mean more than anything. So I set out on this new journey in my life by creating a brand I truly believe in and want to bring you the power of nutrition!