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  • WELCOME!

    On August 24, 2015 I was diagnosed with stage 2 Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer (triple negative). When the doctor uttered those words, "Breast Cancer" my world was flipped upside down. I was just 25. This blog is just a way for me to work through what I am going through. I have gone through IVF treatments, a port surgery, 16 rounds of chemotherapy (taxol, carbo, A/C), a lumpectomy (I had a complete response to chemo), and 33 rounds of radiation. I finished treatment in June of 2016.

    I am a Graphic Designer, Photographer, Wife, and now I am a Breast Cancer Survivor.

    *Photo above by ClickForHope.net. I was featured here and here.
    *Photo of me and my cute husband by Shadi Garmen Photography. See more here.

Today’s Blog is titled, “God and my Cancer Diagnosis”. Hear me out on my semi-rambled thoughts on how cancer and God has fueled me into believing that I’m not alone (God is with me), and how every moment is a gift.
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Psalm 77

I cried out to God for help;
    I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
    at night I stretched out untiring hands,
    and I would not be comforted.

I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
    I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
You kept my eyes from closing;
    I was too troubled to speak.
I thought about the former days,
    the years of long ago;
I remembered my songs in the night.
    My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

“Will the Lord reject forever?
    Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
    Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
    Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”

10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
    the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
    and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

13 Your ways, God, are holy.
    What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
    you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
    the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.

16 The waters saw you, God,
    the waters saw you and writhed;
    the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
    the heavens resounded with thunder;
    your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
    your lightning lit up the world;
    the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
    your way through the mighty waters,
    though your footprints were not seen.

As I started to write a blog post, I was looking for a bible verse when one of my friends in the bible app (cough Gabi cough) had highlighted one of the verses above  a couple weeks ago. I opened up the chapter and I was stunned as this was basically how I felt during treatment. All of the emotions from not being able to speak, to asking God why in tears, to knowing God was a good God despite the pain, to knowing and seeing that although the footprints couldn’t be seen, through the mighty waves and the storm I was in, he was leading me.

Speaking of the ocean..

I remember listening to Oceans by Hillsong during my chemo days. Again, it was such a reminder to me that no matter what happens God will not fail me. Today if I’m being totally honest, I found myself singing this and crying. “For I will call upon your name, when oceans rise…” In case you didn’t get the metaphor oceans is the bad stuff in life. So the waves in my life can be overwhelming sometimes. Then the song says.. “My soul will rest in Your embrace. For I am Yours and You are mine.” Beautiful isn’t it? 
oceans hillsong
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Sometimes these lyrics and those bible verses don’t come to mind. When I was in the midst of my darkest storm I felt like I couldn’t pray, but this verse below is nice to hear.
Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Maybe I should get into the practice of saying “Hey God…” and then just be with him instead of talking when words fail me.
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When I was terrified of the future I remember seeing this verse. 
Jeremiah 29:11-14
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,”
I don’t really know what my point of this blog post is. Maybe it’s because I’m sad today for reasons I don’t want to talk about. What I do know is, that God has given me peace and hope. God’s ultimate plan is to help us and it isn’t to hurt us. Even though we might not understand why we are going through the pain that we are going through, he wants the best for us. Sometimes the best isn’t what we think or know. Sometimes it’s that job we wanted, sometimes it’s getting rejected for that job we wanted to open up another door we didn’t know existed.  Sometimes it’s healing and sometimes it’s complete healing in heaven. Sometimes it’s not an easy road that we wanted to take, but a bumpy road that leads to more beauty then we could have ever imagined.  Sometimes it is exactly what we wanted. We don’t know, but in the end it’s God’s will. 
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Another song I love is Blessings by Laura Story.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What a song right? Those lyrics. I marked lyrics that stick out to me by bolding and italicizing them. What I’ve never realized is the last part. “We know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home.” First, what an interesting perspective of pain. Second, it reminds me that our ultimate home is not here, but in heaven.

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Bianca Olthoff said, “Life is a Vapor.” In her video devotional today (Click here to see it) she talked about how every moment is a gift, and how we need to live like it. James 4:14 says, “…You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” She puts time into perspective. “To understand the value of one second ask someone who just avoided a car accident. To understand the value of a millisecond ask someone who received a silver in the Olympics.” Live each moment with intent and live life to the fullest because that is what God’s calling you to do.

May darkness never win in your life. May God’s light shine through. May we live as though every moment is a gift, because it is.

 

  • November 16, 2016 - 2:43 pm

    Rita - Love this post!!! Made me cry!! So much hits close to my heart and I know God has a plan for all of us, it’s our job to let him lead the way!! Love u! 👍😘ReplyCancel

    • November 21, 2016 - 9:20 pm

      mel.alicea@yahoo.com - Love you!ReplyCancel

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We had some water damage issues in my mom’s basement which means that we needed to clear out my dad’s old office. I cried before we did it. A little bit during the packing, and mostly I just held back tears 1297392 times. I miss my dad so much. I wish I didn’t have to pack away his stuff. 😢I found this little scribble drawing he did along with a lot of his photography he printed out. 


I’m reminded today just how much we were similar. Stubborn, hoarders, creative, photographers, musicians (not so much anymore but I did play the flute grade 5 though my freshman year at UIC), bad jokes…those were just a few things. I miss him terribly. 

I feel better when I write here so I’m just going to ramble on for a little bit. 

I had a dream where I had my short Afro hair (have I told you my dad had a fro back in the day?) and it ended up being a wig I took off. My hair was longer and I ran my fingers through it making it puffy. I then walked up to my dad who said something along the lines of, “I’m healed.” I said, “me too” and we hugged. 

It wasn’t a normal hug I remember but still that dream was…well I don’t know. Maybe it’s God telling me my dad is healed in heaven while I’m healed here. Maybe it was just a dream. I don’t know. 

What I do know is that he is healed in heaven, and my earthly self misses him so much. 

So many things I wish I could tell him. So many things I wish I could redo. Even just the little things I miss. Him rambling to Isai and Gabi about politics. The yearly debates on if he was American or Puerto Rican. Lol 


I cleaned out my own apartment a couple weeks ago and found that photo above. My dad was Santa. Lol


My mom hated his muscle shirts. Lol 


Pa, I won’t ever stop missing you. I love you. 

  • November 8, 2016 - 1:41 am

    Rita - Miss Tio very much!! I know it’s hard to pack his things up, it’s like reliving the moment again, like realizing he is gone.
    Tio was funny even when he was corny lol!! Miss his humor! May he rest in Gods glory! Forever missed never forgotten!ReplyCancel

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So excited to announce what I’ve been working so so hard on.

Click on the link below to see the…

Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

My friend Jazi and I have worked so hard to make this happen. I’m so excited to release it. The new shirts. The stories. The real life awareness. No pink ribbons anywhere there. Did you notice that?

It makes me emotional to think about how much I’ve done with this shop. To me, it looks so good for only being open since May. I’m so emotional because a year ago I was starting chemo around this time. This year I can try to spread awareness. I can try to tell people to check themselves. Be aware. Donate to Metavivor and live life.

If you have cancer, please know that you must live life. Did you read  Jennifer’s Story?

“You are alive, so LIVE. Stage IV is not a death sentence, you do not have an expiration date. Take everyday as it comes and fill it with the people and things that you love. If you take nothing else away from this experience, know and understand that each moment is a gift and you have the power to choose how to use it, not cancer.” -Jennifer

How powerful is that. LIVE LIFE. Cancer or not.

IF you don’t have cancer then praise God and LIVE life. You get my point though right? Let this be an awareness to keep on going. No matter what our battles are.

Anyway stop reading and check it out. NOW.:)

 

Photos below by Jazi of ClickforHope.net

Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. Cancer Survivors 40 and under.Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign. Cancer Survivors 40 and under.

 

 

 

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I took a few photos with my camera while visiting baby Hectito. I like calling him by his nickname.:)Here is my favorite and a photo of his little footprints.

  • September 19, 2016 - 8:53 pm

    Ivette - The picture of the baby looks like something out of a magazine! It’s awesomely beautiful!ReplyCancel

    • September 19, 2016 - 8:54 pm

      mel.alicea@yahoo.com - Aw thank you! I have more just didn’t want to share too much for their privacy but I can send you a link!ReplyCancel

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Today was insane. Got into a car accident with the husband. Waited over two hours for the police and 40 minutes in the guy tore off his bumper and left the scene. No worries, we had his license plate number. It was just a very annoying situation. He crashed into us at a red light. 🙄 
BUT then we got the call. The baby is here. After filing a police report we headed off to the hospital. I saw my brother and niece first. We walked into the room and there was the baby in my mom’s arms. I peeked at the baby and my brother asked lili to tell us the baby’s name (we didn’t know the gender or the name beforehand). She said, “Hector”. My eyes got watery, but the moment was a beautiful one. They named him after my dad. Later on they asked again and she pointed to heaven. 
I miss my dad terribly, but I’m so happy for new life. For this little boy’s life. For another Ray of Sunshine that help us finish off the year. 
Hector David, I love you so much. 

  • September 18, 2016 - 3:44 am

    Ivette - What a blessing! I don’t say this about all babies, but he really is beautiful!!

    I hope you and Joe are okay!

    Love you,
    IvetteReplyCancel

    • September 18, 2016 - 3:45 am

      mel.alicea@yahoo.com - Haha I know. I think he’s a beautiful one too. Lol we are ok! I should talk about our crazy story in another blog lol. ReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2016 - 11:31 am

    Teri - Congratulations to all of you God is good has gave you the best gift Hector is beautiful. So glad you are all safe from the car accident. This is one story. Love you guysReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2016 - 5:55 pm

    Valerie Papoutsis - I can’t tell you how happy I was to read this! Much happiness to all your family. Your dad is watching down with smiles.ReplyCancel

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