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Living with a Grateful Vibration

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Living with a Grateful Vibration

Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#21 in a series)

She went from triple-negative breast cancer patient to cancer patient advocate, and she’s appreciating every single moment.

Like many women, Eileen Z. Fuentes never heard of triple-negative breast cancer until she was diagnosed with it herself. And, like many of us, she discovered the lump in her breast with a casual touch.

Even though there was no family history of cancer, the mother of three girls was greatly relieved when genetic testing determined there was no genetic link.

Only 34 years old at diagnosis, her nine months of aggressive medical treatment included a lumpectomy, after which she opted to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. That was followed by four and a half months of chemotherapy.

On the topic of mastectomy, Eileen says, “I breastfed all three of my daughters for over a year. I was unafraid to let my breasts go. Additionally, I am young survivor and wanted to have my breasts [reconstructed].

Her participation in a clinical trial was not without complications. A blood clot required additional treatment. Still, she believes her prognosis is quite good. “I was diagnosed at stage 2A, with no lymph node involvement. That, and my lifestyle modifications led them to believe I am in a good place.”

From Cancer Patient to Cancer Patient Advocate, with a Grateful Vibration
Feeling slightly out of place in existing support groups, Eileen sought to find additional ways to cope, both for herself and for others. After two years of training, Eileen founded and led the first Women’s Wellness Series at Columbia University Medical Center so she could share what she learned with other women.

I asked if her experience with triple-negative breast cancer changed her philosophy of life at all. With a resounding “yes,” she answers, “I cherish every moment and feel blessed. I have seen a friend die from triple-negative breast cancer and the fact that I am still here makes me feel incredibly grateful, and I live my life with that vibration.”

She also made a few lifestyle changes … nutritionally, professionally, spiritually, physically… “The list is endless,” she says.

Next: “Happier and Healthier” Despite Multiple Losses: Turning Negative to Positive

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Read more: Cancer, Conditions, Do Good, General Health, Health, Make a Difference, Women's Health, ,

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

30 comments

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2:43AM PDT on Sep 19, 2011

So much is in the attitude we have, no matter our situation. Eileen and Ann, thank you for inspiring others, thank you for sharing your journeys.

9:51PM PDT on Sep 13, 2011

thanks

2:36PM PDT on Sep 11, 2011

critical

1:48PM PDT on Sep 10, 2011

Thank you all for your beautiful comments. What a testament to how my life circumstances brought me to a place of love and purpose.

Be blessed always,
Eileen Z. Fuentes
Twitter: @theSPEACHgal

12:59PM PDT on Sep 9, 2011

Best of luck to Eileen and all facing problems!

6:02AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

thanks!

5:01AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

thank you for the inspiring article and thank you to Eileen for sharing her difficult journey to recovering with us. best wishes.

11:57PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Thanks Ann, your stories are still must reads for me.
Take care and be blessed, thank you.

5:10PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

The courage and determination of Eileen Fuentes is inspiring! I hope she has a very long and cancer-free life!

12:35PM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Great article, very inspirational person

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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