Anna Warner's Lipstick Journey

We believe that a great shade of lipstick can instantly brighten your mood. Anna Warner, a 4-time cancer survivor, couldn't agree more! Anna used lipstick as a platform to help inspire others while she herself was battling throat cancer through her blog-turned-book, “My Lipstick Journey Through Cancer.” Anna’s touching story (see below)  has a happy ending and she recently celebrated by participating in the Esprit de She Triathlon in Napperville. Not only did she compete, but she was also asked to sing the National Anthem which was something doctors told her she would never do again!

We were so inspired by Anna that we were honored to donate Lipstick in treasure to all of the cancer survivors participating in the race. Read about Anna’s journey in her own words below and be sure to check out her blog!

Anna’s Lipstick Journey
by Anna Warner

Isn’t it amazing how a good lipstick can make you feel? What a great color can do for
your face, for your mood? I grew up with big lips…all the rage now, but I grew up when
Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs were hitting their peak…thin lips. The last thing I ever
wanted to highlight was my lips. After college and beyond, larger lips started becoming
the obsession…thank you Angelina Jolie! I am a lipstick fanatic. I am a wife, mother, and
singer and have sang on stage, radio, and television. Music has always been my passion
and my voice, an important part of my life.
In December of 2007 I began a journey that changed me forever. After suffering for
months with a sore throat, I was finally diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Going
into surgery in January I felt confident that they would take out my thyroid and my
cancer journey would be over. After the surgery I was told two things; my cancer had
spread throughout my neck and probably my lungs, and that I would never sing again
because my right laryngeal nerve was cut during the six hour surgery leaving my right
vocal cord permanently paralyzed.

The next two and a half years were extremely difficult, cancer just kept coming back. My
last surgery was the most complicated. The large tumor had completely surrounded my
left nerve as well as invaded part of my trachea, amazingly it was a success. Afterwards I
did seven weeks of aggressive external beam radiation to finally rid myself of the cancer.

Unfortunately, the radiation and scar tissue partially paralyzed my remaining left vocal
cord.My journey has been incredible. I’m still having a little difficulty breathing, but yes,
agait st all odds, with one paralyzed vocal cord and another partially paralyzed, I am
singing again! I have learned many things along the way. Many people from my past,
friends, and even strangers prayed for me, encouraged me, and even made meals for
my family. It was a stunning reminder that sometimes a moment or chance encounter
is enough time to impact someone’s life in either a positive or negative way. It’s the
simple command, “Love God, Love others,” (and tell them often). I also learned that
everyone has a story, so take your time listening. In my silence, I was able to truly listen.

We live in a virtual society where relationships and physical presence have gotten lost.
People still want to be hugged, look them in the eyes, open yourself up and be present
because time goes so fast! Of course, use your voice, it’s a gift. Use it to stand up for
what you believe in, to encourage and tell others how much you care and love them,
to praise God who gave it to you. But choose your words wisely because words are
powerful, they come from the heart.

Why lipstick? Because each piece of this journey was a different lipstick color to me;
from nude (exposed), to pink (hopeful), to brown (dull), to raisin (radiation). Today, I am
a red lipstick wearing girl. Bold, confident, and loving life! Of course, true beauty comes
from within. Lipstick just adds a little pizzazz!

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