I discovered a hard mass in my right breast while performing a monthly self-awareness exam. My findings were strange and I was immediately frightened. I was stunned, but when I finally came to, I instinctively knew to pick up the phone to call my mom. She calmed me down, and helped me understand the urgency with which I needed to make an appointment with a doctor.
I went in for screening and diagnostic tests at a small clinic. Since the results of the diagnostic tests showed an abnormality, I was promptly referred to a larger hospital for additional procedures. The process was unknown and scary, I had no one to ask about the necessary steps to take, and did not have anyone to navigate me through what I considered was a gigantic maze. However, deep down inside of me, I knew I had to carry on because the process was necessary. On April 28, 2015, with my family along my side, the doctor shocked me with a diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis. Everything the doctor was saying sounded foreign and confusing, nothing made sense.
My first round of chemotherapy started on June 11, 2015. At first, I did not know what to expect but being uninformed caused me to fear how the treatment would affect me. I had always been autonomous and hardworking, and I expected that I would undergo treatment and continue to live my life as normal. However, after the first session of chemotherapy, I had to stop working. My new reality was difficult to grasp. On one hand, I knew the treatment was necessary to get healthy, but the thought of no longer being able to support myself was overwhelming. The chemotherapy sessions were difficult for me, I became weak and sick. I tried my best to stay positive, nonetheless growing financial pressures began to eat away at the little stability I had left. Thankfully, my mom and sister did not think twice before offering to help me, yet knowing that they too have financial burdens made each day more painful. Had it not been for my family’s support, economic and more importantly their emotional support, I know I would not be here today to celebrate my new life.
Throughout my journey, I met a new loving family who would help me get through treatment and helped me get better. Being a breast cancer survivor means strength, hope, faith, family and courage. This oddly beautiful journey has allowed me to find a new life, which I fall in love with more and more each day. I’m truly grateful to be the person I’m today. With strength and determination, I continue to cherish my new life and feel blessed to be a Breast Cancer Survivor.