Picture this: chilling on my couch, watching a movie, I was absentmindedly fondling my breasts – as you do when you’re bored. It was during this seemingly ordinary moment that I stumbled upon a lump on the right side of my breast. A fleeting sensation that disappeared as quickly as it came. Days turned into weeks, and that fleeting lump persisted, gradually growing in size. Strangely enough, I never noticed it before, not that I was actively searching for it either. So, I called the hospital quite concerned, only to be told that I couldn’t be admitted unless I had tested positive for COVID-19.

With the realization that Covid was here to stay, I had no choice but to take matters into my own hands and seek medical attention as soon as possible. I finally see a doctor who agrees with me: very big lump inside the boob? Bad sign. He even congratulates me for detecting it, as it apparently wasn’t an obvious discovery.

At the end of a long day full of medical exams, verdict was delivered: I had an aggressive form of breast cancer. Had I not taken action when I did, I would have had a mere six months left to live. How’s that for a slap-in-the-face kind of moment? It hit me hard – I was eating well, staying active, got a job I loved,… You could say I was at the peak of my physical and mental health. This was the moment when I truly grasped the importance of early detection. I would never have scheduled a check-up on my own, out of the blue. And because of that, I could have faced a grim Christmas. I’m being overdramatic now, but that was my reality.

While I had somewhat anticipated the diagnosis, I was in shock when the doctor officially delivered the news. How could this be happening to me? As the doctor laid out the plan for the upcoming months, a strange calmness washed over me. I asked my questions and left the hospital feeling completely detached from my own body, as if I was merely a spectator observing from the outside. I allowed myself to cry only once, that night. What was the use of crying now? My focus was on moving forward and ensuring I gave my best during the treatment.

The weeks that followed that fateful day were an emotional rollercoaster. After the shock, came the anger, the why-me phase. I had done everything right, so why was I facing this? Then came the sadness: the realization that I couldn’t afford to die just right now, with so much I wanted to experience in life. Finally, resignation set in – It is what it is, and there was nothing I could do but maintain a positive attitude (that’s 50% of the battle I’ve been told). From that point on, that was exactly what I did or at least try to show on the outside.

Long story short, I underwent surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, the whole shebang.

Despite doctors advising me to stay home, given that chemo had left me with a compromised immune system, and I would have no survival chance would I catch COVID, I kept with my routine anyway. I continued going to yoga, rock climbing, spending time with my friends, ensuring I returned home before curfew. This routine was my lifeline, a source of sanity in the midst of the storm.

People often showered me with compliments like “Wow you are so brave!”, “you are so positive, you are so strong!” Little did they know that during one week out of the month, the pain from chemo was so excruciating that I would cry out in agony. I couldn’t move, sit or even keep my eyes open as literally everything hurt. But I had to stay strong and keep on smiling.

During my treatment, I found refuge with Ly in Bangkok where I was completing my radiation therapy. Given a second chance at life, I was determined to make better choices, including using safe, clean products in my daily life, in every aspect but particularly when it came to intimate products. This was no easy task, especially in a society where discussing female health or pleasure, like in Thailand, remains taboo. After late night talks, re-inventing the world, we imagined a beautiful intimate oil, chemical free, made with organic and safe ingredients only, for everyone and every body in mind. Ly has always believed in the healing power of cannabis as she has been using it herself for her own issues – we thought that would be an incredible combination. That very night, Slaphappy was born.

Through this parallel journey, we also recognized the lack of discussion surrounding sexual health and pleasure. It might take time, but our hope is to foster open conversation on those topics and beyond, creating a safe space for anyone who want to share, seek guidance, have doubts or simply need support. Our dream is to build a community of humans who can count on each other.

All of this is to say that I am profoundly grateful for that pivotal check-up, as it granted me a second chance at life, allowed me to embark on Slaphappy with my best friend, and, most importantly, striving to find true and profound happiness.

Today, I have just one piece of advice to offer: get yourself checked. Do it for yourself, for your family, for the people who loves you, even if you feel strong and healthy. Early screening saves life – it certainly saved mine saved mine.”

With love,