susana-survivor-story

I was diagnosed at age 35 on May 24, 2017. I have currently stopped by prophylactic chemo due to bad side effects but am due to have my reconstruction surgery this November 2018. I am currently in remission and waiting to have my Left side mastectomy and reconstruction of both breasts this November 4th, 2018.

At the time I found out I was 7-months pregnant with my second child. My son and I had just recently repatriated back from living abroad so I could deliver here in the states. My husband had stayed behind to finish out his contract. So, when I found out, I was all alone at an appointment and I didn’t have my husband there to comfort me, though he immediately got on the first flight out when he heard the news.

I only had enough time to get 1 dose of “safe” AC chemo during pregnancy before it was too risky. I was pumped with steroids to help the baby grow and she was taken out a month early at 8 months so that I could get back to chemo due to the aggressive nature of my breast cancer. I did a total of 4 rounds of AC chemo which was absolutely horrible!

I have always taken care of myself, i.e.- eat healthy, exercise. So, I’d have to say opening up and allowing other people in to help has been the biggest lifestyle change of mine throughout this process. I have always prided myself in being very independent and “doing it all” but I learned that’s it’s ok to ask for help and accept help!

The hardest thing during all this time was not being able to be the mother I wanted to be for my newborn and at the time 4yr old, shortly later I completed 6 weeks of daily radiation, which overall wasn’t too bad minus the tightening and burning skin. Once I finished my radiation, I began working part-time (I’m a Physical Therapist) to help myself feel more “normal”.  I have found the most support through my 2 kids, my husband and my immediate family (parents, siblings, in-laws); but I also found amazing support through my extended family (aunts/uncles, cousins). And well I can’t leave out all my friends who kept it real and acted as if nothing had really changed with me.

I first heard about The Breast Cancer Charities of America through my mom who owns Boballons360 and she told me she was donating a balloon ribbon for an event you guys were holding. My mom has been an amazing support with me and helping me raise my daughter when I was at my sickest points during treatment.

I wish I had a secret, but I just focused on my kids and what my future was holding…life, an amazing life! There were frustrations along the way so also allowing myself to cry when I needed was a great release!

If I could encourage other women who might be going through the same thing, I would tell them to just stay positive! There is a light beyond the tunnel! Focus on the good things in your life and accept help! Have faith! And don’t be afraid to use the cancer card when needed!

 

For more inspiring stories like Susana’s visit our Survivor Stories, or share your own!