Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma or IDCV
Chemotherapy and Reconstruction
“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive”
The moment that I found out I had breast cancer I was scared to death and thought I would die especially after losing my younger sister to cancer. This just can’t be happening to me. I always take very good care of myself. I exercise, I eat well, at least I thought, and I don’t smoke. The only thing I had against me was that I usually get very stressed out. VERY.
Now I have learned to take time to appreciate everything around me; especially my friends and my family. Without the support of a very special friend I don’t know how I would have survived. It has been two years now and every day I am grateful.
Few of us are ready when our fear of cancer becomes a reality but each year more and more women are diagnosed with cancer. You may be frightened. You may feel lonely and angry but you are not alone. You are not helpless. You need to start thinking that living with cancer is a journey. Replace you fears with information. The good news is that the death rate is finally starting to drop.
My cancer was detected in May 2009 by good luck. I have a radiologist that really cares about me. He recommended that I have an MRI even though it was denied several times by my health insurance company. They did however approve a biopsy . I was confident that everything was going to be just fine. I was surprised and very wrong. I was diagnosed with Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma or IDCV. Breast cancer is the unregulated growth of abnormal cells in the breast. My type of cancer starts inside the cells of the milk ducts and invades outside the duct walls into the surrounding tissue. Over time, it may have spread to the lymph system or bloodstream or to other organs or bones. My tumor was negative for ER (Estrogen Receptor), PR (Progesterone Receptor) and HER2 (sp3) Receptors. This type of breast cancer is called “triple Negative” and it accounts for 15% of breast cancer: It is usually more aggressive. It does not respond to the usual hormonal therapies. It is related to the breast cancer gene BRCA. Treatment for this type of cancer is being investigated.
I had a second biopsy where more cancer cells were detected with the same diagnostic. Fortunately, my tumors were detected when they were small (2.0 cm). The size of the tumor is used to figure out the stage of the cancer and along with other features, the treatment plan. I was recommended by my doctor to have my right breast removed by a mastectomy. I decided to have a double mastectomy (removal of both breasts) to avoid the possibility of recurrence in the future.
After my double mastectomy my cancer was upgraded to Stage II. Stage II means the cancer has not spread to any distant sites (lungs or bones) and cancer cells have spread to 1 or 3 axillaries lymph nodes, which was my case. It was also suggested that I have four sessions of chemotherapy where drugs are used to kill cancer cells. My breasts were reconstructed after six months and I am very happy with the results.
During my treatment I continued working, and surrounded myself with positive people who really empowered me. During this time I tried to find myself and to discover what really works for me and which relationships will make my life more meaningful.
Today I am thankful to God for all my blessings. Breast cancer has made me wiser. I have learned among other things, that the fight against breast cancer can be surprisingly positive and a life- changing experience. From detection and surgery to reconstruction and recovery, I have taken a journey no one chooses to take. I also have learned to enjoy all the tiny details, and appreciate what I have.
I belong to Save Our Sisters Dragon Boat Team which is the first one in Florida consisting solely of breast cancer survivors. We train to race in dragon boat competitions. But our main objective is to race against breast cancer and to focus on living, rather than on the disease. We are a powerful example that women can lead full vigorous lives after surgery and treatment for breast cancer. I also belong to another group of cancer survivors, The Link of Hope Sistas, which has given me a lot of support and enlighten.
Through this group I hope to teach and help others who are diagnosed with this disease. I want to give back, everything I received from my friend Patricia San Pedro during my journey: hope, inspiration, courage and determination to carry on. There is a lot of hope and you are no alone!