Actor Oscar Torre introduces you to an actress who battled cancer and still wants to save lives.
She shines as an actress, but it’s her battle with cancer that’s changed, and saved, lives.
I first learned of Lourdes Reynolds when I saw her giving a brilliant, moving performance in the CBS series Without A Trace. Soon after, we connected and actually became good friends thanks to Facebook. Then, in 2010, what seemed like a punch in my stomach from Facebook, I was saddened to see Lourdes tell everyone there that she was battling cancer.
Around this time, my admiration for Lourdes increased exponentially. She decided to fight her illness naturally and forego the usual treatment of Western medicine of chemotherapy, radiation, and those other treatments we’ve all heard about. Although I still didn’t truly know her then (outside of social media), I was so impressed by her attitude and courage that I followed her struggles closely throughout the whole process. She documented every step of her recovery to help others in the future. And help is exactly what Lourdes has done. Online and in our real world, I have watched her go out of her way to share her story and process with others who are confused, in shock, and are just in need of a trusted voice … a friend. Now, she’s telling her story in different ways, through a documentary and a book. She’s now telling her story as a guideline for others to have hope and live a healthy life, as she did and is doing. And, as if that isn’t amazing enough, I actually have the pleasure of starring opposite Lourdes in the new feature film Lost Souls.
So, when CATALINA asked me if I’d met an inspirational and groundbreaking Latina I’d like to interview for a special issue of the magazine, I automatically thought of my longtime Facebook “friend,” turned role model, turned colleague, Lourdes Reynolds. Luckily, she practices what she preaches, and she said “yes” to this interview – to continue to help you, me, anyone who may be looking for some sunshine, hope and a happily-ever-after type of story which is completely true and possible.
The Beginning …
Oscar: What made you want to be an actress? Lourdes: I love entertaining people. I have all my life. Even as a child I would put on performances for my mom and siblings. We had this huge closet with no door and just red curtains hanging there, and I would create stories and perform and dance as if I was on a stage performing for a huge audience. It was fun.
Oscar: When did you move to LA and from where?
LOURDES: I moved to LA from the Chicago suburb Lourdes: Lake Villa, Illinois, in 2000, but grew up in Waukegan (also a suburb of Chicago). My family moved from Puerto Rico to Waukegan when I was 1 year old. … I had to learn English once I was in school. It wasn’t easy for me, as my parents didn’t speak English at the time.
From Without A Trace to Cancer …
Oscar: Tell us about your journey, from CBS deal to then getting sick?
Lourdes: It was such a great time in my life. I was still pretty new here in LA and trying to get an agent was next to impossible. I was looking for a really good one who could get me in the door at quality auditions. I learned about an audition CBS was holding for a showcase. The actor’s showcase was going to be performed in front of industry executives. The audition called for a one-minute mono-
logue, and so I wrote my own. It was a dramatic monologue, and because I had written it, I was really able to nail the audition.
I was called back the following week and had to have another one-minute monologue. I decided to write a comedy and use a Spanish accent. The two monologues caught the eye of an executive. She was so impressed that she submitted me for a role they happened to be looking to cast for the hit TV series Without A Trace. The part was of an immigrant woman whose son goes missing. I had to bring in the emotions I displayed from my first monologue and speak with the accent I used in the second.
I went to this big audition, and I nailed it. The feedback that I received was encouraging. Everyone the room said that they were really impressed. Before I drove off the Warner Brother’s lot, I got a call from my manager. She said that I had a callback with the producers. I went before the producers, and before I made it home from my callback, I learned that I landed the job. After that, I was given a holding deal with CBS. My role as Anna Rodriguez on Without A Trace was on the ballots for consideration to be an Emmy nominee.
So things were just great. But then as I was going to more auditions, I kept feeling out of sorts and couldn’t seem to catch up on my sleep. I was filming a movie called The Kiss and we had a lot of night shoots so I just chalked it off how drained I was to the night shoots. But even after I was done filming, I was still exhausted. This went on to varying degrees for about three years.
After about three years, a lump grew on my breast, and then one on my neck. I finally thought I should see a doctor for this new lump on my neck and for my exhaustion that I can’t seem to shake off. That’s when I was told that I had cancer in my lymphatic system. Hodgkins Lymphoma. At that moment, I decided to take a break from acting and start documenting myself fighting cancer naturally without any conventional treatments. I felt there had to be a better way, and I was going to find it. So I went on a quest and started my journey to “Option C.”
Then comes The Journey of a Lifetime …
Oscar: What is Option C?
LOurdes: Well you first have to know what “Options A and B” are to understand “Option C.” “Option A” is doing conventional medicine and just follow everything the doctors tell you. “Option B,” like many I have met, including my dad, is doing nothing at all, leaving it up to God and not changing a thing in your life. “Option C” is doing the research. Finding out the why, how and what can one do to turn this around so that you live a long, healthy, cancer-free life. “Option C” means asking questions, researching and reading the many books that are about naturally fighting cancer. “Option C” is listening to your body when you try different treatments out. It’s also talking with others who have successfully beaten their cancer naturally and looking for the protocols that help your body start healing itself.
It is a process, but one that is worth its salt and why my husband Chris and I decided to write a book together so that we can help others through our own journey. We completed the documentary and won awards on the film festival circuit. Literally, at every screening, we had dozens of people approaching me asking for advice for themselves or a loved one. My husband and I wrote a book to reach more people titled: Our Journey to Option C. We actually started a movement called #ichooseoptionc.
Oscar: How can people find out more about “Option C” the movement?
LOurdes: They can join the group I have on Facebook called Create Option C and also subscribe to my website createoptionc.com.
Oscar: What’s the next step for you and Option C, you seem to be doing a million things? LOurdes: Well we have our book out now in English and Spanish. We are getting our documentary distributed soon, and we are in the process of producing our true story titled Create Option C: My Journey With Cancer. In the middle of all of that, I am still acting and remaining an advocate to others with their health issues. My husband and I are now speakers to “Option C.” ■