Living with MBC
My 10-year-old son, Enrique, has been my strength and motivation to fight every single day, so I may witness him finish high school and go off to college. His dad and I separated when he was very young, and he primarily lives with me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2015 when I was 41 years old and my son was 6 years old. I had a mastectomy in Feb 2016 which is when I was diagnosed with Stage 3C DCIS-Invasive Lobular Carcinoma ER+PR+Her2-. Before I started my treatments, I had registered my son for a 6-week course that would educate him about cancer. Some parents may not agree with this, but it was good for him to understand what I would be going through and to understand why mommy would be tired. My BFF, Heydi would take him to the sessions for me since I was in treatment. She was and continues to be one of caregivers. I did chemo and radiation, which was tough on me. It was especially tough for my son to see his mommy with no hair. He would always give me hugs and say, "Everything will be okay, right?" I always reassured him it would be okay, that it’s just what I go through to destroy the cancer. In October 2016, my oncologist suggested that I have my ovaries removed since the type of cancer I had would either go to my bones and ovaries or I would continue with the monthly shot designed to suppress my ovaries. I chose to get them removed even though my OB/GYN back then did not agree it was a good idea due to me being so young. I pushed and pushed until the OB/GYN decided to remove them. I thank GOD and my gut feeling for advocating for myself because once my ovaries were removed, my pathology report showed a 3 cm malignant tumor on my left ovary which is when I was re-diagnosed to Stage 4 (Nov 2016). I was going to a support group but when I told them my stage had changed, I was kicked out. It was very upsetting for me but ever since then I’ve been attending Nueva Vida, who has not ever discriminated me for living with MBC. They have been here for me since day one of my cancer diagnosis. I was on tamoxifen through June 2017 and, after going to get 2 additional opinions from oncologists aside from mine, I agreed to start Ibrance/Anastrozole in July 2017 and have been on it since. I get scans every 6 months and I have been NEAD ever since November 2016 when my ovaries were removed. It has been a roller coaster, I have lost friends to MBC. I know that I must remain strong and keep going for my son and me. It has affected my relationship with friends and family, some have stuck around, and some have not. You definitely learn who your real friends and family are in times like these. I didn’t ever think that I would be in this club, but I embrace it and keep moving forward.
I am blessed to have made new friends who understand what I am going through. To also have my immediate family who are my backbone: my son, my father, my stepmom, my beautiful sisters, my niece and my nephew. I try to meditate every day, to stay positive and enjoy every day to the fullest with the ones who I love the most. The mind is so powerful. I may have MBC, but MBC doesn’t have me. I keep myself busy but when my body needs rest, I listen to my body. I thank God for my blessings every day.