Kim Myers is the owner of Pink Denim, Inc. and a breast cancer thriver. She joined The Women’s Only Podcast with host Cleo Faucette to discuss surviving breast cancer and thriving.
Listen to the full interview on The Omega Sports Women’s Only Podcast.
Cleo has known Kim for over a decade through their children who attended the same elementary school. Kim grew up in Durham, NC, which is known as the city of medicine.
Kim was into rollerskating and running. She never joined track, but she ran a lot. Cleo backs up that claim and calls her a true skater and was even inspired to purchase her own pair of skates.
Kim’s sons played all sorts of sports. As such, Kim’s family frequented Omega Sports to outfit themselves for their sport needs. Kim’s sons would even text Cleo to find out if they had what they needed in stock.
Family history of breast cancer
Kim’s first introduction to fighting breast cancer was due to her mother’s diagnosis in 1989. She had been living with cancer for 3 years. By the time Kim had been aware, cancer had spread through her mother’s bones. Kim was 19 years old.
Kim’s mother and father didn’t want her children to worry so she kept that secret to herself until she felt she couldn’t anymore.
Kim learned to be more adamant about her health and check herself. She made it her business to keep tabs on her body. Her aunts also fought cancer, so it was something she kept in her mind frequently.
She also encourages her friends to put their health first. Check on your girls, she says.
Pink Denim, Inc. is born
After Kim lost her mom, she was searching. She wanted to find something to help ground her after this loss and to celebrate the memory of her mother.
In 2006, in a dream, she heard, “put it on shirts.” She woke up and realized her mission was to help spread the word with t-shirts as her medium.
Her goal was to go beyond just the pink ribbon and to truly celebrate the women who fight and fought breast cancer.
The name Pink Denim came from a combination of things. Pink represents breast cancer. And denim pulls in Kim’s mother’s favorite color, blue.
Pink Denim’s motto is apparel with a purpose.
She gets her inspiration from her imagination. She looks at women and considers what makes them feel empowered, citing her hairless beauties shirts as an example (she has multiple versions). They allow folks to see themselves as beautiful and powerful.
The best seller is The Power of Pink. The back of the shirt notes, Pink Denim is for the journey inspired by those who fought a good fight and for those that are still fighting.
Not just surviving, but thriving
We’re not just surviving, we’re thriving, says Kim. And thus was born her latest collection, Thriver Life. Women who are fighting or who have fought cancer are more than just survivors. They are thrivers.
Surviving means you are getting through that particular moment. Thriving goes beyond that. We can thrive through anything.
Kim’s own journey
Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a wake-up call. When she felt that sharp pain she knew something was wrong. She went to the doctor.
She set up an appointment with the breast imaging center and her doctors assured her that breast cancer is very curable now. On August 3, she was told she had a malignant lump and it looks like it’s Stage I.
The good news was she caught it pretty early on. She went into surgery on October 6. At that point, cancer had entered Stage II. She went with a double mastectomy because she had a strong history of breast cancer in her family.
Healing was painful, but it wasn’t too bad. And from there, Kim went into aggressive chemotherapy treatments on November 5. That went on until March 25.
Chemo caused her to lose her hair, which is tough. You never know if it’s going to come back or may come back in patches. You find other ways to fix yourself up. Maybe it’s makeup or cute earrings.
When it did eventually start to grow, she died it blonde. Cleo ran into her at Harris Teeter the hour after and Cleo could have cried. Kim looked amazing as a blonde. She’s been rocking it ever since and Cleo refers to her as BB (Blonde Bombshell). She is THRIVING.
Lessons from mom
“Drink a lot of water and eat a lot of bananas, Kim,” was something Kim’s mother often told her. Because of this, she tried to eat healthily. She didn’t do a great job at the beginning, but she’s working on it.
She’s been trying to work out more. Because of some neuropathy, she is sometimes thwarted.
It sets in during certain chemos and can set in your feet and hands. Doctors will check-in to see if patients feel any numbness and tingling. Kim’s didn’t set in until her final chemo session.
For many, this may happen early and treatment must be stopped because it may cause disability.
Kim is unsure if hers will ever go away. But there’s a chance it can in as little as a few months
One of Kim’s favorite ways to maintain her health was through juicing. She was able to add all sorts of veggies and fruits into the juice. This was especially helpful during her chemo.
She added Tumeric to a lot of her food or drink to help with inflammation.
She also takes B-12 to help with her neuropathy.
Kim continues to push herself. Just a little bit each day to regain her strength. She says the chemo makes you feel like you are 80 because of how it attacks your bones and muscles.
Kim was even able to get back to her love of rollerskating recently. She couldn’t do much, but she “did roll a few laps with a lot of help.”
Her friends and family were so important. People were by her side all the time willing to care for her. Cleo interjects, “when she let them.”
This support system helped her with recovery. Kim says if you know someone with cancer, just be there. It is so appreciated.
On top of that, Cone Health provided her with health professionals. She was connected to the Alight Program for further assistance.
Rebirth of Pink Denim
At first, she felt like she had a brain freeze. She wasn’t sure how to jump back in. She’s been focused on gathering her thoughts and trying to figure out what is going to work for her customers.
She wants to build something greater. Her dream is to take Pink Denim worldwide. She’d love to see her product in stores. She wants to give back and help give mammograms to women through her 501(c)3. A portion of her proceeds will go towards that.
Most women can’t work through chemo. Most jobs won’t give you benefits for more than 6 months if they don’t let you go altogether. When you are married, you often miss out on grants if your spouse makes over 35k.
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