- Age: 36
- Profession: Educator, Reading Intervention
- Type of Breast Cancer: ER/PR Positive
- Number of Years as a Survivor: 5
- Relation to Susan G. Komen: Survivor who received services from Komen, Board member, Speaker, Race for the Cure® Team Captain and Volunteer
Before April 2010, I had only heard of breast cancer if it was affecting someone else – and that someone else was always a grandmother, a mother or distant aunt – definitely not someone I knew directly, and certainly not someone my age. Breast cancer was not a part of my daily life, it was definitely not something I ever thought I would need to be concerned with. I was young. I was healthy. I was a wife and mother of two children. Then one day that all changed.
I spent the first few months after my diagnosis fighting the fight, but not exactly embracing the forever effects of this PINK diagnosis. Alongside my husband, we did what we had to do – we went to every appointment, we listened to the doctors’ advice, we did a lot of research. I went through 6 surgeries over a period of 3 years. In between surgeries were treatments, physical therapy and even more appointments. It was during this time that I began asking “why me?” This wasn’t supposed to happen to me! I did everything right – I was healthy, I had breastfed my kids which is supposed to lower your chances of getting breast cancer. I didn’t fit the stereotype of a person with breast cancer. I didn’t even like the color pink!
One night, out of the blue, a different thought came to me. Instead of asking “why me,” I asked myself “why not me?” I realized then that cancer does not discriminate, and for whatever reason I was picked to be the next warrior in the battle. And just like that, my focus changed. I knew if I was going to beat this I needed to put my big girl panties on and truly embrace breast cancer with all of its lumps and bumps.
I began to embrace the symbolism of the pink ribbon and gained comfort with every one I saw – knowing that it represented every woman, man, fighter, survivor, family member and caregiver that had ever come to know breast cancer personally. I was granted a lifetime membership into this PINK Club, even though I didn’t ask to join. With that, I also needed to accept the help that was being offered to me by family, friends, and organizations like Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. There was help and support at my fingertips. I just had to realize that in order to win this battle I needed to accept the help and support!
Five years later, I have more than embraced my inner “PINK.” As I am about to celebrate my 5 Year Cancerversary, five years of being cancer free, I have also started a new chapter in my “PINK Adventure.” I have recently accepted a position on the Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft.Lauderdale Board of Directors. I want to help an organization that has helped me. I want to give back to the community that has given to me. If I can share my story, share my journey, and help just one person out there, I know that one day we will all be able to live our “happily ever after” knowing we have done all we can to fight this battle.