10 Years Strong, An Open Discussion With Brandi Maxiell On Being An Ovarian Cancer Survivor
You all may know Brandi Maxiell as the fiery, bold woman who stood her ground and lived in her truth as a former cast member of the VH1 series Basketball Wives. Throughout her time on the show, Brandi shared her life with viewers all over the world. It was amazing to watch as she continued to live fearlessly after a long-standing battle with Ovarian Cancer. As a 10-year survivor, Brandi is a reminder to us all about the importance of never taking a moment in life for granted.
The American Cancer Society estimates one in 78 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. In the United States alone, there will be over 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed this year and over 14,000 women will die from the disease. Many are unaware that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. We wanted to take the time to highlight the importance of sharing and supporting organizations, survivors and fighters whose lives have been stricken by ovarian cancer. It was even more important that we interviewed a woman who has experienced the battle with Ovarian Cancer and won. In this interview, Brandi talks candidly about her diagnosis and how she’s now using her platform to spread awareness about the disease.
Aside from being a TV personality, you’re a co-owner of Midway Salon Suites and working on a cosmetic line. How did you get your start in both the entertainment and cosmetic industry?
When it came to getting started in the entertainment business, I remember it all started with my wedding pictures and pictures of me bald floating around the blogs. From then E! did a special called True Hollywood Story: Basketball Wives and from there I got on VH1 Basketball Wives LA. As far as the cosmetic industry, I started playing around in makeup as a child with my grandmother. As well as growing up in the hair business with my mom, she has always had her own salon as a child. With the love and knowledge of both I ended up having my own cosmetic line (Brandi Maxiell Cosmetics) as well as my own Salon (Midway Salon Suites).
How is it balancing work, family and your personal life? Do you ever feel it to be impossible to balance it all at once?
Balancing work, family, and personal life is so hard and sometimes challenging. I need more hours honestly in a day lol. I’m literally a uber mom driver 7 days a week, a chef, a wife, cheerleader, business owner, and more lol. My son takes up most of my time especially now that he is in two sports and school has started. In each sport he’s on a premiere team which involves multiple practices per sport during the week and games on weekends. Then you have school work and school functions along with business work. It’s so hard balancing all of them, and I only have 1 child.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and a few years ago you were diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, how important has advocacy been for you over the last several years?
It’s actually been exactly 10 YEARS CANCER FREE, Thank GOD. It has been a struggle, but I pushed through and made it. Early on it was difficult to share my story because I would be so emotional. But the feedback and support I get from others by telling my story allows me to push through and continue to share. I love hearing how I’ve saved so many lives or how I educate them with my story. I love hearing other people success stories and especially stories from men speaking about their wife, mother, sister or whomever. When I do hear stories that didn’t go so well it humbles me and bring me closer to God. It makes me thank him every chance I can for giving me a second chance. I now know my purpose and that is to share, educate, and uplift women like me.
When you found out that you had Ovarian Cancer, what was your initial reaction? Do you remember what was going through your mind?
I became numb, I thought I was going to die! Then I went into protection mode because my mom was there, and I had to also be strong for her. It was horrible. I just remember asking God, “WHY ME”. Then after a couple days it from “WHY ME” to “WHY NOT ME”. I had a talk with myself and said, “Brandi girl you have no time left to sit and cry, it’s time to go to work and save your life”.
How has the diagnosis of this disease changed your perspective on life?
I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer at 24. I was young and slightly immature. I use it to take life for granted and focused on things that was not important. From the time I was diagnosed to now, I’ve learned to just soak everything in, breathe, and relax. To absorb everything around and take it as this could be my last day. Tomorrow is never promised, you must live each second as if it’s your last.
Did you, at any point after the diagnosis feel robbed of any of the anticipated joys in your life?
I did. I was like dang God I’m only 24, I just graduated college, newly engaged, and had officially moved to Michigan with Jason without having to go back and forth to school. I thought I was about to live my best life and free from everything. But God had different plans for me.
Did having this disease empower you in any way?
What words of wisdom would you give to women whom are living with Ovarian cancer?
Be strong and kick cancers ASS!! The key to beating cancer is to stay and remain happy. You have no time for downtime. Keep your head up high and surround yourself with love and positivity. I always say the strongest people in the world are people going through or went through cancer. I don’t know anyone stronger.
How does it feel being cancer free for the last 10 years?
It feels amazing!!! It’s a true accomplish and a must needed CELEBRATION. A great deal of people get cancer again within 5 years. I’m just blessed to make it this far. I’m having an event and party September 29th in Dallas celebrating 10 years being cancer free.
How do you use your platform to empower others, especially women who are battling this disease?
I have now started this event I’m going to start doing every year in September called the Teal Tea Party to help educate women about this deadly “silent killer” disease. Eventually, I’m going to expand that to doing giveaways such as wigs, makeup, beauty day, vacation giveaways on a monthly basis. I believe by doing this it will help inspire and uplift others going through it or who survived it. I also want to figure out a way where I can get sponsors or donations to help women pay for their bills. The treatments are expensive.
To learn more about Brandi or to shop her new line of cosmetics, visit brandimaxiellcosmetics.com