Five years ago this month, I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer. I was 32 years old and my daughter was just 6 months old. I immediately made plans to be treated at MD Anderson. There, my first oncologist said that people with Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer generally lived 3-5 years. I was floored. But my oncologist said that since I was young, and otherwise healthy, he was going to be aggressive in treating me. He has since moved on and I’ve been with my second oncologist who also shares his belief. I can honestly say that if I wasn’t at MD Anderson I would be dead by now. I’ve been through countless procedures, radiation, surgeries, and nine different types of treatment, three of which were clinical trials.
This journey has not been easy but, by the grace of God, I have been able to stay strong and alive. I know that God is in control and is putting the right doctors and treatments in front of me and, most importantly, has put a great support system around me. I could not have made it through this far without my mom and sister. They helped to care for my daughter and myself. They continue to step in and help as needed. I’ve been very fortunate that I also have great friends who are ready and willing to help any way they can. This is not a journey I would have willingly chosen but one that I will use to empower and move me forward. I’ve lost family and friends to this disease and I don’t want to be another statistic, so I’ve chosen to help bring more awareness and try to help/educate others as much as I can.
At the beginning it was hard to share my story without crying but it has gotten easier to share. I strongly believe that if people are educated about Metastatic Breast Cancer, more can be done to get the research needed to find a cure so that others don’t have to walk through everything that I’ve been through. As someone who doesn’t look sick, many people don’t know that I have Metastatic Breast Cancer. They are shocked that I don’t look sick and am still able to work full time. What they don’t see are the invisible side affects from all those treatments I’ve been through that make some days harder to handle than others.
I want to make sure that people understand what living with Metastatic Breast Cancer means. How little funding from “Pinktober” actually goes to research. Buying something pink most often than not only helps line the pockets of those companies. It does nothing to help people on this journey. And yes I keep using the word people because MEN can and do get breast cancer.