Share Your Story: Rosa
Cancer Survivor Story
Hi my name is Rosa and I'm a breast cancer survivor.
In 1988, at the age of 32 I learned I had breast cancer. I first noticed a small lump on my left breast & didn't think much of it at the time as I was in the middle my menstrual cycle. A couple of weeks later I noticed the pea-sized lump was still there & decided to have it checked out by my family doctor.
While my doctor suggested waiting & seeing over the next couple of cycles if the size changed, he scheduled a mammogram for precaution. So I waited. Within 2 weeks the mammogram came back negative (which means good news), meanwhile I waited a couple more months & noticed that the lump was slightly larger in size and painful to the touch. After pointing it out to the doctor, he sent me to see a specialist. He, too, thought it was nothing to be concerned about since the results proved negative and I was at a young age category for cancer and there was no family history.
Another month later I finally decided to have the lump, now even larger in size, removed & biopsied. A week later I received the worst news of my life. My whole world had been turned upside down.
I was given the news that the cancerous cells had already spread to some of the lymph nodes & that my breast could not be saved. I made the decision to have a full mastectomy of the right breast. That was followed by 3 months of chemotherapy treatment and soon after that I had reconstructive surgery, I went into remission and was living a healthy lifestyle.
Eleven years later I was yet again faced with the same devastating news.
This time the lump was on my right breast. From previous experience, I was certain this was positive for cancer and the test results quickly proved as much. Except that it was an entirely new cancer. The reality that I had to re-live this all over again was too hard to imagine, but I had my child, husband, family & friends to live for and a life that I still needed to fulfill.
Having no other choice I had another mastectomy, another 3 months of chemo and drugs...feeling sick, losing all of my hair and wondering WHY?
Ultimately it was early detection that improved my odds, my determination to persevere and my will to be around for my family and friends who fought this disease with me.
Today, 22 years later, I am cancer free and I live a healthy life. I have overcome this battle and devastating disease and with the help & support of everyone we will have a cure.
Thank you, Rosa.