Husband | Antu Radhakrishnan
Children | Julia-17, Alexis-15, Camille-15, Reyna-10
Erica Radhakrishnan, two-time cancer survivor and super mom of four daughters, says that any woman that chooses to become a mother is a super mom.
“Being a mom is a lifelong commitment of putting yourself last for the betterment of another, and ultimately our world. I take the role of being a mom very seriously; especially in light of the times we currently live.”
Erica was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 34 years old. While going through chemotherapy, she had an allergic reaction to the drugs and went into anaphylactic shock. Her life flashed before her eyes as the nurse pumped her with antihistamines. After that, Erica elected to discontinue chemotherapy treatments and opted for a less invasive maintenance drug. It seemed to work.
Less than 4 years later, Erica felt a lump near her collarbone. She knew the cancer was back. This time around, her attitude was different. She asked herself, “What can I do to make this journey less emotionally scarring for my husband and daughters?” She went through four rounds of chemotherapy and thirty-six rounds of radiation.
During that time, Erica did everything she could to make life easier on her family. She prepared their meals, organized their schedules and attempted to continue her normal mom duties.
“Some days are better than others, but each one is a juggling act,” she says. “Subconsciously, I use the ‘Eisenhower Principle’ to order my time and activities into urgent and important priorities. However, organization is paramount. I am the most effective when I organize my time, space, and ‘stuff.’”
Knowing the challenges of raising children while going through cancer treatments, Erica worked with Leadership Lexington and some of its participants to start an organization called Supportive Oncology Services. SOS provides free childcare to parents and grandparents going through cancer treatments. “I know every mom is super busy, but I encourage them to find an organization in which to give back. Share your gifts, talents, and story. Our world desperately needs them,” says Erica.
Hearing loss was a major side effect of the chemotherapy treatment. She primarily has difficulty hearing higher pitches which makes hearing female voices a challenge. “Before I received my hearing aids, my daughters repeated themselves often and grew frustrated,” Erica says. “On a particularly challenging day, I explained that while it may exasperate them to repeat themselves, I pray they never understand the level of frustration and sadness I experience on a daily basis due to constant ringing and hearing loss. However, it is collateral damage I gratefully accept to have every given day with them.”
A huge motivator for Erica is to raise her daughters to act, believe and speak in a way that embraces love, dignity, respect and integrity. “This is no easy task, especially when the media, music and entertainment industries sensationalize the opposite, but it is imperative to make our world a better place,” she says.
“The most rewarding part of being a mom is watching my children overcome obstacles, doing good for others, and living faithful and faith-filled lives.”
While Erica does not see herself as a “super mom,” she explains the only reason one would consider her “super” would be because of the people with whom she surrounds herself and organizations in which she elects to participate. They all helped her through her cancer battle.
As CEO/Hospital Administrator for Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists + Animal Emergency, Erica says that her colleagues, employees, fellow volunteers, co-workers, friends, family and community inspire her to be a better person every day. Their support was extremely valuable during her battle with breast cancer.
Erica says that she can only do all that she does because of the love and support of her husband, Antu, a small animal veterinary internal medicine specialist.
“My husband is truly my partner. I am blessed and grateful beyond words to have him in my life,” she says. “Something I’ve learned is how important it is to own your mistakes and apologize for making them–especially to your children and spouse. And for all super moms, never compromise your values or integrity, even if it makes life easier. You never know who you may influence.”