In 1999, Lea Friese-Haben lost her job, was dumped by her fiancé for a younger woman and found out she had a rare form of skin cancer.
Simply put, her world was turned upside down.
“I wanted to die,” Friese-Haben of Scottsdale said. “If it was just the cancer it would have been one thing. I was freaked out. My whole world was coming apart. I wound up getting down to 80 pounds.”
Friese-Haben credits her children — Peter, 22; Nicolaus, 20; and Lauren, 16 — with giving her the will to stay alive. Their encouragement helped her maintain her sanity, fight lentigo maligna melanoma — a form of melanoma more common among the elderly that produces facial lesions and leaves scars — and survive.
Several years ago, Friese-Haben, 44, began a holistic medicine practice after working with a practitioner during her illness. She later decided to branch into being a relationship counselor and founded Lasting Impression Consulting.
“It was a traumatic time,” Friese-Haben said. “They said I’d have a hideous scar on my face. To put time in a relationship to try to make it work and then to be told you’d be disfigured was too much.”
Friese-Haben worked with plastic surgeons for nearly a year, including one who specialized in cancer scars, to help her look better. That and starting to see the holistic practitioner made her realize she had value beyond that of a mother and the technical engineering sales job she lost.
“The holistic doctor made me realize what I wanted in life,” Friese-Haben said. “That was to see my kids grow up, graduate and be at their weddings. That doctor helped me realize that I should do more with my life and be my own boss.”
As part of her holistic medicine training, Friese-Haben developed a dating strategy for herself. It worked and she decided to pass it on. Now, it’s so popular and she has so many clients that the service has become a full-time job. She helps people daily with their dating aspirations and authors a weekly dating column in Nightlife! magazine in Arizona.
Friese-Haben’s business plan is to make clients feel better about themselves inside and out, as she did.
“The cancer is in remission and I just love working,” Friese-Haben said. “I love inspiring people to believe in love again. I’m happy to be away from corporate America doing something I truly enjoy.”
Friese-Haben said her life has changed her for the better. She has a devil-may-care attitude and takes life as it comes with her children and husband, Greg, whom she married in May 2000.
“I’m fearless now,” she said. “Never in a million years would I have believed that I’d start my own business and make it a success.
“I love my clients. They keep coming back, so I must be doing something right. I’ve learned and try to teach people not to repeat some of the same (bad) things. I want them to be positive and energetic.”
For information on Friese-Haben’s program, visit www.lastingimpressionllc.com or call (480) 283-3414.