Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#17 in a series)
After fighting triple-negative breast cancer for a year-and-a-half, 57 year-old Carmelita P died as she lived, with her faith intact and her loving family by her side. Her son graciously shares her story in the hope of educating and supporting families coping with similar circumstances.
Joseph P was 25 years-old when his mother went in for a routine mammogram. As a nurse, Carmelita took annual mammograms seriously. This one was anything but routine and she was soon diagnosed with stage IIa triple-negative breast cancer.
Now 29, Joseph, a Strategic Marketing and Partnerships advisor for nonprofits, does not mince words when speaking of his family’s ordeal, his love for his mother, and his feelings of loss.
“We did not immediately fear the worst.”
With no history of cancer in the family, they had never even heard of triple-negative breast cancer. “I thought breast cancer was breast cancer and was not aware that there were different types,” says Joseph. “With my Mom being a nurse, she may have been aware of it, though she did not speak about it specifically.”
“We did not immediately fear the worst. In fact, it was the exact opposite. When you hear about breast cancer, the perception is that it is highly treatable and easily defeated. With the tremendous amount of awareness, thousands of walks, and countless survivor stories you hear, breast cancer is made to sound like something you beat. Just another one of life’s roadblocks that people magically overcome and grow stronger from. The other side of the story is rarely told. The ugly side. The story of those who have lost loved ones. The danger, seriousness, and viciousness of this disease is the part I never heard.”
“We were on the road to recovery and normalcy.”
“We didn’t think it would be an easy process to treat her cancer, but we always ‘knew’ she would get cured. If so many women beat it, then why not her?”
Carmelita’s treatment included a mastectomy, followed by radiation, then chemotherapy. Believing that she did, in fact, beat cancer, the family celebrated after her final treatment, relieved to be among those who survived the disease. “We were on the road to recovery and normalcy.”
When a string of migraines landed Carmelita in the emergency room, the family learned her cancer was back with a vengeance — in her brain, liver, and spine, among other places.
Next: “We coped with it the only way we could.” / Profound Changes
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.