Two-time Breast Cancer Survivor, Thriving as Owner of The Maids of Folsom

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This October, Becky Kraemer, celebrates two years since opening The Maids of Folsom and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Facing breast cancer head on, twice personally and again with multiple family members, she sees each day as an opportunity to positively impact the lives of others through her personal and professional life.

Becky and Rick Kraemer

Becky and Rick Kraemer

This October, Becky celebrates two years since opening The Maids of Folsom and looks to use her personal journey to foster awareness about breast cancer and bring hope to those currently fighting the disease.

Business owner, wife, mother, daughter, sister and two-time breast cancer survivor all define Becky Kraemer. In 2000, a 35-year-old mother of three young children, Becky received the diagnosis no one wants to hear; she had breast cancer. Cancer was no stranger to her family as her mother, twin sister and two aunts have also battled the disease. Becky and her family knew the road ahead would not be easy. She was determined to do everything she could to not only survive but also thrive in the face of cancer.

After being presented with all the options, Becky and her husband, Rick, made the decision to do everything they could to stop the cancer in its tracks. Becky underwent a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and reconstruction surgery. At the time, her children were 3, 7 and 8; the hospital had never operated on someone so young and there were many unknowns. Unwavering in her faith and ability to survive, Becky learned as much as she could about the disease and treatment options.

She decided to do everything Western medicine recommended and also incorporate alternative medicine into her treatment plan. She incorporated yoga classes that emphasized stretching and breathing, which helped with recovery from surgery. The yoga classes also provided a safe place, “to just be when I didn't feel well. To be with friends that cared and not become isolated as my emotions and physical stamina decreased,” recalls Becky. “I was doing something to be healthy not just going to a doctor to cut, radiate or chemo to make me better.” She also integrated massage and chiropractic visits into her care plan, as well as appropriate vitamins and incorporating more water and leafy greens into her diet.

Becky had an extensive support system of family and friends, people from her church, and the kids’ school. She says one of the lessons she learned during her treatment was to be able to “graciously accept help and be able to articulate what our family needed.” Personally, she had to allow Rick to parent differently than she would have. Medically, she was surrounded by an entire team, which helped her navigate the complicated medical system, aided her research of treatment options and supported her emotionally.

One of Becky’s surgeries resulted in her developing lymphedema. “It was difficult feeling as if I had done everything right, survived the cancer and yet I still developed this horrible side effect from my treatments,” recalls Becky. “I was young and lived in a warm climate where I was always having to explain to people why I was wearing the medical sleeve on my arm and hand.”

Throughout her challenging journey Becky had to accept cancer was going to be a window in her life and the window was going to be longer than she hoped. This is a message she now passes on to others who are diagnosed with cancer. “It’s not just a cold, you have to be patient with yourself,” she says. In September 2011, having bravely walked the breast cancer journey, Becky was in remission and looking forward to going back to teaching middle school fulltime when she again received a diagnosis every cancer survivor fears; the breast cancer was back. Again, Becky and Rick made the courageous decision to do everything they could to fight the disease.

Three years after her second diagnosis, Becky was again in remission and starting to feel more like herself, ready to rejoin the workforce. This is when she found The Maids, a leading residential cleaning company with almost 200 locations serving over 90 major U.S. and Canadian cities.

Becky says, “Rick and I saw The Maids franchise as an opportunity to care for and educate others because having a clean home is so needed when you are in a crisis - healthy conditions, safe people in your home, organized environment for everyone to function better, happier environment to heal in, etc. My philosophy is I care about and educate our mostly women employees, our employees care and educate our customers, and our customers turn around and care and educate us too. It is a triangle of care and education I believe will ultimately cause our business to flourish and help everyone involved.”

As a business owner, she is determined to succeed and willing to do the hard work to ensure success. She is competitive by nature, having won a collegiate All-American swim title, running for over 14 years, and participating in sprint triathlons. Her athleticism and healthy lifestyle have attributed to her recovery. Becky credits God and her faith for allowing her to “do things I physically shouldn’t be able to do with no muscle on one side and having had radiation twice.” She is able to clean four-to-six hours each day alongside her employees.

Becky’s story is a story of hope. When asked what she would tell others who have a cancer diagnosis she said, “There's hope, it's curable. Cancer is not just a loss, it's an opportunity. An opportunity in your spiritual walk, in your family, in your own personal journey; just be patient with yourself.” Becky also sees her experience as an opportunity to make the future better. She is proud that her tumors are all at City of Hope for ongoing cancer research. As the mother to a daughter and aunt to many nieces, she hopes her contribution can lead to new prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment procedures. This October, Becky celebrates two years since opening The Maids of Folsom and looks to use her personal journey to foster awareness about breast cancer and bring hope to those currently fighting the disease.

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Jessica Samson
The Maids International
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