Local woman turns cancer diagnosis into booming business
An El Paso woman tells us a long process of trial and error took her from cancer patient to business owner. She's now sharing her remedies that helped her during chemotherapy with others who are going through the same grueling process.
“I was diagnosed March 2012, so I've been in remission for five years,” Wendy Barbosa said.
Wendy is a mom, wife and nurse. She was shocked when she was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 30.
“I was very scared. I was very, very scared, and more importantly I have two sons and when I told them their reaction was, ‘Are you going to die?’” Wendy said.
Wendy had a tumor on her neck. With the help of her husband and family, she began treatment.
“You're not prepared for it. Nothing really in life prepares you for that type of news,” Juan, Wendy’s husband, said.
Chemotherapy was tough.
“Towards the end, I remember begging my husband, 'Please don't take me to chemo,' because I was so physically exhausted. I was drained,” Wendy said.
Wendy said her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes started to fall out. Her skin started to ash. The pain was so intense that she tried natural remedies.
“I would soak in apple cider vinegar and water to eliminate the joint pain,” Wendy said. “I would use natural oils and essential oils to heal my body.”
Those home remedies eventually became a business for the Barbosas. They created a line of moisturizers and hair serums under the name Green Octo.
“We got to a prototype that was working and was helping her skin,” Juan said. “Then she developed a blend of oils that helped her hair grow back.”
They started selling their product at the downtown farmers market. The business just expanded to a shop in the Cortez building.
“We want to try to help other people, we want to be there and be a friend,” Wendy said. “Tell them about our situation, and if we can help them in any way, we're there to help them out.”
They say they've turned a negative situation into a growing experience.
“It does change your perspective on life, it makes you more human and understanding and patient,” Wendy said. “Having cancer is very scary but it's very real.”