Profession: School nurse
Type of cancer: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
Year of diagnosis: 2013 and 2016
Number of years as a survivor: 5
Relationship to Susan G Komen: Received Services through Komen Grantee, Race Participant
My journey started in October of 2013 when I felt a lump in my right breast while exercising. Being a nurse, I knew I should have it checked out. My doctor and I didn’t think much of it but still made sure to have the tests done immediately. Things moved extremely fast. By the end of the week, I received the news: “You Have Breast Cancer.” My heart sank, I was at a loss for words. Here I was 28 years old, about to celebrate my 1 year wedding anniversary, planning to have more kids. In an instant that all changed. I very quickly realized I was in a fight for my life and was going to do everything I needed to WIN.
At the time my son was 10 years old and telling him about the diagnosis was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. My husband and I waited a few weeks before telling him. Once we received all test results and knew exactly what we were dealing with, we sat him down, held his hand, and told him. Of course, his fear was “but are you going to die?” and by what the doctors had told me, NO I was not. We were always honest with him. Involving him in this process helped him cope and also allowed him the opportunity to help me when I needed it the most.
My treatment plan was aggressive. During this time, I stopped working and focused on myself and my family. The fuel that keeps me pushing forward was my family, seeing my son grow, and the thought of enjoying grandkids one day. My treatments were very successful, and after radiation, I was given a clean bill of health. Just 6 weeks after finishing radiation, I was given another surprise, I was PREGNANT! Pablo Manuel Rojas was born in June 2015. He is a happy and healthy baby! I didn’t ever think we could be blessed with our baby boy.
But my story doesn’t end there. In August of 2016, the cancer was back. I was in shock, more disappointed than before, and had a hard time processing the recurrence. There were many moments when I thought, “This can’t be happening again!” Once again, I looked at my boys and knew “it’s time to fight again.” In many ways, I’m thankful for the battles and blessings. I have met incredible women and helped many newly diagnosed women. Through this experience, I realized how fragile life is and how important it is to live each day with purpose. Susan G Komen also helped me during my journey. From grants for medical treatment to giving me the opportunity to speak to young women about the importance of breast health and self-awareness exams. After all, I’ve been through, my mission is to share my story to bring awareness of breast cancer in young women, to share that there is life after cancer and that it is “oh so beautiful”! =)