Within weeks I had a double Mastectomy with reconstruction. I thought the worst was over. As I lay in the hospital bed coming out of anesthesia with family and friends all around me, my mom leans over with tears in her eyes and says…”Mija, (a term of endearment for Mexican daughters) I won’t be able to help take care of you as I have cancer too.” What????!!!! She picked THAT moment, when I’m coming out from being under to tell me this???? I was in shock! She went on…”I have uterine cancer and am having a total hysterectomy next week.” UGH! I couldn’t talk. All I could do was cry. Why was GOD doing this to us? My mom had surgery one week after I did. She had Stage 1 Uterine cancer. My sister who thank God is as healthy as an ox, went between me and our mom and helped take care of us as we recovered. Thank you my SISTA!!! I love you!!! A few weeks later as we were recovering and getting ready to start chemo together my mom gets a call from her oldest sister, my Aunt Maryanne, and was told that my aunt had stage 4 bladder cancer. So there it was…the 3 of us diagnosed with cancer. Both my mom and I chose the conventional treatment of surgery and chemo and had chemo at the same time, same days, but different locations. We lost our hair at the same time and both went through the grueling pains of chemo. My aunt on the other hand chose a different route and decided to do experimental drugs, no surgery and no chemo. Needless to say the cancer spread rapidly and the experimental treatment did not work and we lost her right before Mother’s Day in 2018. Rest in peace Aunt Maryanne. You will never be forgotten and you will always be loved.
Mom and I got through all of our surgeries, I had 7 within one year…port insertion, reconstruction, infections, etc… and we made it through chemo. Neither of us needed radiation. We were both in the clear with no evidence of disease. So in Dec 2017 I had my port taken out and so did my mom. We were both so happy that we had survived the grueling past year of treatments. Yayyyyyy for us!!! We made it!
Two months later I started with a nasty cough that would not go away. I felt like I was hacking a lung. I went to the doctor and was put on antibiotics, steroids, and cough medicine and was told I had bronchitis. I also started having a pain in my upper back. Well the cough never went away, I went to the Chiropractor for the back pain, that never went away. So after about 4 months of having a cough that wouldn’t go away, and back pain that was getting worse, my Oncologist decided to do some scans. On July 3rd, 2017, right before my huge 4th of July party, the doctor called us in and I was told that the cancer had returned and spread to both my lungs and sternum. I had more than 30 plus tumors in each lung. There it was. Again. My hair had just grown back and now I was getting ready to lose it all over again. So much fun!!!! I underwent a second round of chemo and radiation to the sternum. Needless to say that 6 months after having the port taken out, I had to have it put back in.
I now was stage 4 and terminal. I was put on every three week maintenance infusions of antibody drugs plus a monthly hormone shot. Scans and Echocardiograms every 3 months. I was given a new expiration date..an unreliable one… of 2 months to 8 years at most. F*&^%$ that! The doc said they could only try to keep the cancer stable with drugs but I would never go into ‘remission’. They would just prolong my life with drugs till my body gives out or the cancer eats me alive. So there it is. This is where I’m at today. I just finished another round of radiation for a new spot that was found on a scan on my left shoulder. Yep, cancer is still spreading. And I’m still fighting. Never gonna give in or give up. And do I feel sick now? Sometimes. But for the most part I feel OK. I still work, have a supervisor who works with me on a flexible schedule. I’m lucky I get to work from home. I’m a Pediatric nurse, for over 20 years now, and I work with a huge insurance company. I’m blessed. I have a wonderful husband who has been my rock through all of this and a wonderful supportive family. I am truly blessed. Did I mention…Fun?? lol