• Giorgia Rivera

    Survivor


    In September 2015, I felt that was something wrong with my breast. I went to my primary provider and I told her about it. She gave me a breast exam but told me she couldn't feel anything, just be sure she sent me to get a mammogram. The following week I had an appointment for my monogram. I went and the mammogram didn't show anything, but just to be safe the doctor decided to give me an ultrasound. I knew that there was something wrong when the technician started to go in and out of the room. She came back in one last time but this time the breast doctor was with her. The doctor told me that they saw something that wasn't right and I had to come back in the following week for a biopsy. 

    In the mean while, the head of the breast clinic department was on her way to meet me and reassure me that everything was going to be ok. I was scared to death. I came back in the following week for my biopsy and I had to wait another week for the results. I have to say that it was the longest week of my life. Once I got the breast clinic, they brought me back to the room and put me on a gown, the doctor came in and started discussing with me what was going on. I remember she told me "you have stage 1 invasive breast cancer," after that I don't remember hearing anything else. 

    I couldn't believe I just got diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34. Because my young age and no family history, I was sent to get a gene test, both of them came back negative. I was offered a lumpectomy but I decided to opt for a double mastectomy. Exactly 1 month after diagnosis, I underwent a double mastectomy with sentinel lymph node removal. The surgery lasted 11 hours. I remember waking up and hoping that all this was just a dream. 

    There was actually 2 spots on my breast: the cancer found first was stage 1 invasive and the other was stage 0 insitu. I was happy to know though that all my lymph nodes were clear. After recovering, I meet with the oncology doctor and I was informed that the cancer was so small that I would have to receive chemo. I was put on tamoxifen for the next 5-10 years of my life. I also met with the radiation doctor and he didn't recommend that treatment. 

    Today, almost 1 1/2 year later and 3 reconstructive surgeries. I feel great. I love day by day and try to promote prevention for breast cancer. I'm encouraging everyone to listen to their gut feeling. If they feel that something is wrong please go get checked, if I didn't went in and had waited till 40 to receive a mammogram maybe it would have been too late. I try to be strong everyday for me and my family because I want to see my kids grow up.

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