My name is Lourdes Cambeiro.
Never, ever, did I think that a moment as special and intimate as making love to my husband would change my life so drastically, make me feel so vulnerable and scared, yet help me appreciate life and its beauty so much …and yes, that’s how it all started.
One of those romantic nights at home where he had made us one of his many delicious dinners, we got ready for bed and without going into detail, we ended the night in each other’s arms. As we were getting ready to go to sleep, he told me, “Hey, I felt something in your right breast I haven’t felt before. We should go check it out.” One week later, I went for my mammogram (of which I was 1 year and 8 months late for) and the dreaded biopsy. Then came those words no one wants to hear.
1st thought: I have to live to be there for my (then 13-year-old) daughter, Sophie.
2nd thought: Wait, my husband doesn’t deserve this.
3rd thought: My mom had colon cancer and I have breast cancer. Why us? Why me?
And finally, I thought: If my mom’s a survivor, then I am too!
If you’re reading this, you know that the thoughts and emotions that run through you during this time and while in surgery/treatment can vary day to day, minute to minute! Whenever I got to a dark place, I would remind myself:Lou, think and stay positive… that is what your DNA is about, not this cancer! Its why people love you.
Telling your family, especially your children, is so hard. I was told by a good friend and survivor that it’s best to tell them when you know everything: Your diagnosis, your treatment plan, and what to expect. When I told Sophie, it was heart wrenching to see her reaction, yet so satisfying to hear her say, “Mom, let’s go to church right now and pray for you.” Yes, Lord!I thought. She came to YOU for help. Her words were music to my ears and such a gift from God. Then the gifts kept pouring. The gift of friendship, unconditional support from family, friends, coworkers and even strangers.
What empowers me? What do I live for? During the treatment, I was proud of myself. I was strong and positive for myself and for everyone around me. I wore a wig when I wanted to and other times, I went out bald or with my head accessory and said to the world: “Yep, I’m a breast cancer patient and I’m kicking its booty”. I’ll be honest, instead of feeling stronger AFTER going through the chemotherapy and all its baggage, I felt sad when people talked about it and slanted their head with pity as I tried to get back to work and my “normal” life. I actually had to ask my oncologist, Dr. Garrido, to refer me to someone that could help me with the tears – I couldn’t stop them from rolling down my face. And so, I did. I got help by talking to a professional. I can now say that the beauty of life and personal interactions, my family, my dear friends and God’s beautiful world, which I want to see more of, is what empowers me and makes me want to live a long , happy, healthy and cancer-free life!
Profession: Biotech Phermaceutical Representative
Type of Breast Cancer: ER/PR positive, stage 2B
Year of Diagnosis: 2016
Involvement with Komen: Race participant, Volunteer, 2nd Top Individual Fundraiser