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My husband was the one who discovered the lump in my breast. I didn't think much of it, I was 28 years old, full of life, and breastfeeding my two-year daughter old led me to believe it was just a clogged milk duct. I went to the doctor to get it checked and to my surprise, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. How could this be, I young and healthy, how could this ever happen to me, I thought. My whole world turned upside down, I was terrified and I automatically assumed I was going to die. I didn't know anything about cancer except becoming bald and weak was the norm for some. I was scared of the possibility of doing any treatment, with the fear of it not working. I was a nervous wreck, I prayed, I cried and reached out for any support I could find. Thankfully I was able to find a support group that helped young women like myself with resources to pay for treatment and living expenses.
I had many women who survived the life-threatening disease reach out to me and provide emotional and spiritual support. I was so thrilled to have this kind of help I didn't even know existed. These powerful women gave me the courage and the strength to fight for my life and to overcome this battle. I was 6 years into my marriage and just had a baby, I was starting my life and was determined not to end it with cancer. Cancer was not going to take away my joy and my love for life. It was not going to cripple me into believing that my life was over. It only empowered me to fight for myself and my family who really loves and needs me. So I made up my mind and decided to fight. I had my port placed in, which is a device placed through the skin to connect to the vein, so chemotherapy can be successfully infused. As I sat through each chemo session, I was always relaxed and calm considering I prayed and meditated before each appointment. I knew that God was with me and I was going to fight until the bitter end.
When the first round of chemo was injected, I felt dizzy, tired and weak. I was given fluids and nausea medication before the actual chemo was put in and this made the process a lot easier. I didn't really feel the effects of the chemo until later that evening as I rested at home. I became very fatigued and nauseous as I tried to eat and drink, but the side effects resided as the days went by. Eventually, I started to lose my hair and began to lose weight but I was able to manage my physical changes with wigs, scarves, and makeup. I treated myself as normally as possible, with the mindset of fighting this horrible disease and reclaiming my life back.
After the chemotherapy, I was scheduled to have a double mastectomy. As I was preparing for surgery, I was told they had to cancel it because the lab test showed I was pregnant! I couldn't believe this, my family and I were in shocked considering I had chemotherapy, I thought it would little or no chance of me getting pregnant again. So here I was a 28-year-old pregnant cancer fighter. I was so nervous but I waited for the 2nd trimester to have the mastectomy with breast reconstruction. In the midst of this, the baby did great! He was kicking and had a great heartbeat after the surgery, I was so thankful. Recovery was hard and painful, but I was blessed to know that my doctors didn't find any cancer cells in my pathology report and came to the conclusion that I had made a complete response to treatment. I am so happy that I decided to fight and gave myself the opportunity to live in spite of my initial diagnoses. I am preparing to give birth to my little miracle and continuing to be the best mom, wife, and woman I know I am. Cancer didn't break me down, it built my confidence up to fight!