The diagnosis? Breast cancer. And just like that, my early-30s were booked by surgery, chemotherapy, normal therapy, and occupational therapy, which turns out to be exactly what I wanted to be ever since I was a kid: an artist. 

I knew it the moment I put an ink pencil on a piece of thick paper. All I drew was a simple circle, followed by another, and another, drawing mountains made up of round and perfectly symmetrical circles. "A testament to her "patience My mother Claudia Cayetatna jokes with a wink.

Multiple curious lives preceded Violet Red Studio: psychology student, social worker, and corporate communications officer. It wasn't until I took time off for chemotherapy that I started taking small commissions from friends and family: illustrated wedding invitations, Christmas cards, nursery art designs. My house was soon flooded with textile samples, color patterns, and printers: Filosofias de Vebeche y Cayetana happened. 

My mother and I partnered to open the first of its kind 'made-in-Nicaragua' gift shop. Featuring illustrated art prints, tote bags, and even scarves at the time, the store lived a happy life for a couple of years. Moving around from country to country wasn't the best for business, but certainly paid off in inspiration and experiences. 

Violet Red Studio inherited everything from Filosofias de Vebeche y Cayetana but, most importantly: the concept of happy art as a way of being. In the DMV, we discovered a fascinating community of makers that has given me the visibility I would have loved to experience as a child. This success will always aim to honor the teams of nurses and doctors that dedicated themselves and everyone who played even the tiniest of roles in the road to survival. Though I don't want to be cast for the show, I'm a Survivor.

When you survive cancer, awareness is every day. Be sure to make a self-check before October ends!