Under what circumstances did you detect the disease?
I was diagnosed October 19,2015, on a routine visit to my OB. I never detected anything as cancer does not run in my family. I am the youngest of 15 siblings.
After your diagnosis, please describe your journey in terms of treatment and how it affected you.
As soon as I was diagnosed I had a Port put in for Chemo. I had a great team by the grace of God. I underwent 16 rounds of chemo and 28 rounds of radiation! The damage was done from that moment on, my children live in fear as do I. I can’t so much as cough without my kids fearing the worst. I do my absolute best to look at each day as a new day, without the fear and anxiety. The truth is that I am a woman of faith and rely solely on the Lord above to heal this fear for all of us.
Can you talk about any of the emotional side-effects of going through a mastectomy?
Initially I thought I was okay with a flat chest! I have been married since the age of 15. My husband insisted on my beauty being deeper than my breasts. As time passed I became angry, even bitter and some might say depressed. I started to hang my head low and walk around as if I was ashamed. The reality was that I missed my female/ feminine curves, my breasts, my body and I hated the fact that I lost them. Eventually I realized I wanted reconstruction so bad.
How did AiRS help you get your reconstructive surgery and how has this changed your life?
AIRS made it all possible for me. I am a full time mom and I work full time. I have private insurance as well, however my deductible was an extremely large amount. I didn’t think it was going to happen for me until I read about AIRS. I am happy to say that I had my reconstruction because of AIRS support and help on May 30, 2017.
Looking back, can you give some advice for people going through similarly difficult circumstances?
My advice would be, don’t give up! Get online and do some research. Get information. There are amazing organizations like the AiRS Foundation that are willing to make things possible. My missing piece of the puzzle was completed when AIRS answered the call for help.