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Adriana is a mom of three and was pregnant at the time of her diagnosis. Living life with mBC has given her a new perspective on the importance of time and how we spend it with our loved ones.

This is Adriana’s story.

Diagnosis: I was six weeks pregnant with twins when I was first diagnosed with cancer. Three months earlier, I found a lump in my breast, but everyone thought it was just a clogged milk duct because I was still breastfeeding my 11-month-old son. We were moving houses, so I found a new doctor in the area, and she said I needed to get it checked immediately because it didn’t feel ‘normal.’ I went in on a Friday for an ultrasound and on the Monday, I got the results that it was cancer. Tuesday, I had a biopsy and by the following Friday I had the full results. Around the same time, I lost the babies I was carrying. I just remember sleeping and crying a lot. I don’t think the idea of having cancer had really kicked in yet because I was also dealing with the loss.

Treatment: The day they called me with more information about the cancer, two doctors told me that my type of cancer was the mutating kind – so the size was getting bigger, faster and the odds of it spreading would become higher the longer I waited for treatment. It was such a hard decision, but I have 3 kids who were ages one, two and five at the time and I wouldn’t be any good if I wasn’t here. So, we made the decision to start chemo right away.

Two months later, on New Year’s Eve, they found a blood clot inside my heart. It was literally midnight, and I was going in for a CT scan and I just wanted to get home to my kids. There was nothing we could do – just take blood thinner and hope for the best. Those were really dark months. I remember sitting at my kids’ beds, just crying and hugging. I remember thinking that cancer is not even going to be the thing that kills me – it’s going to be a blood clot!? What are the odds? After a few months, thankfully, the blood thinners worked, and the blood clot dissipated.

We continued with treatment, and I had a bilateral mastectomy before starting 25 rounds of radiation. At this point I thought we were in the clear. I was getting headaches but never thought it could be a recurrence of cancer. My doctor, who is absolutely amazing, sent me for a series of tests and everything came back negative, but then she sent me for a brain MRI.

It was exactly 13 months to the day from my initial diagnosis when I found out I had two spots on my brain. I did have my brain radiation treatment done and the two lesions grew back. A year after they found them, in 2016, I had brain surgery. That was again followed by radiation and right now I’m on no medication; my scar tissue is shrinking, and I have no new tumors. Right now, my cancer’s ‘asleep.’ But that can literally change tomorrow.

Living with mBC: Everyone tells me to just live in the moment, but that’s a really hard thing to do. Sometimes I feel like time is my enemy. When all of this first happened, I would go to bed and wonder if I would wake up. But I’ll tell you what helped me: information. Learning about what I have helps me be proactive. Now that I’m more informed, I feel a little more control in my life. But really, it’s my kids that keep me going, they’re my world. I don’t take anything for granted. I might be tired or in pain, but if they have a soccer game, I push myself to go to that soccer game. I don’t take for granted that I can go next week because, for me, there might not be a next week. I can appreciate my time now. Every birthday is the biggest, most important birthday because I just don’t know if it’s the last time, I’ll be able to celebrate with them. I’ve realized that tomorrow is not guaranteed so I want today to be special, and when I make it to tomorrow, tomorrow is going to be special too.
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