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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.

This Thursday is my birthday, so today I wanted to tell you how I feel about turning 27! I’ve always been one to celebrate my birthday month, just ask my husband and he’ll tell you how annoying I can be about reminding everyone. ūüėČ When I was in my early twenties I remember friends that were a few years older then me complaining about being in their mid-twenties. I’ll never really understand why there is such a stigma with getting older, but I never really cared and I still don’t. I’ve always celebrated it loudly and proudly, except for the past two years.

I still celebrated it, but turning 25 we were going through a hard time as a family so I just did brunch and had a night away with the husband. I always thought 25 would be a great year, it was such a solid and pretty number. I was so excited, but it started rough and it only got rougher when I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I then lost my dad and three months later there was an empty seat during my¬†26th¬†family birthday dinner. So I guess this year I was a little weary deep down about celebrating and I literally just sent a super late and last minute text asking if anyone wants to join us to watch a comedy show for my birthday. I guess it’s a little harder to celebrate sometimes.

Life has been tough, and people around me are having babies or are simply busy. I find myself feeling like maybe it’s silly to celebrate. As I navigate through life after cancer and what that means, I also find myself constantly mourning a ‘normal’ life. A normal life that means planning for babies like everyone else (doctor’s have told me it will be hard to have any after chemo), not worrying about getting cancer again, or having a solid career. Instead I’m trying to grow a business, living¬†on a small budget, and I’m in a constant roller coaster of emotions as I mourn the loss of my dad and I mourn the loss of other things cancer stole from me.

But I can’t live in the negative. I can’t live in the fear, but as I write this it all comes to surface what I’ve been feeling. One thing is certain, we can’t be ashamed to be another year older. I’m so proud to be turning 27 because that means I’m alive. That means that God has blessed me with being in remission and I need to acknowledge and celebrate that. So on Thursday I plan on celebrating with my husband and then going to a family dinner. On Saturday, weather or not people join us, we’ll celebrate again with a comedy show. In true Melissa fashion, I can’t just celebrate one day. It has to be more then one day. ūüėČ

I hope 27 brings continued success with Hope25. I hope I can continue to grow as a person and as a business women. I hope I can continue to heal both emotionally and physically. I hope I can continue to follow my dreams and go on many more vacations. Forget gifts, I think vacations are my love language ;). I hope I can continue to punch fear in the face and just live life.

So¬†despite all these things swirling in my head, I’m pretty happy to be turning 27. Cheers!

P.S. photos from our San Fran trip. <3 Thank God for timers. haha

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It’s been a rough weekend. I struggled with food temptations wondering if I should cheat on whole30. I’ve come so far. I feel good for the most part and I’ve lost weight. I’m so proud of myself but I really want a donut. It’s so hard to always be cooking and I just want to get fast food and not worry about it for a day. But I’ve come so far. 

I struggled with missing my dad (it was my parents anniversary yesterday).

I also mourned what cancer took away from me, not just my dad, but what it took from my personally. I don’t want to go into detail. As Joe and I laid in bed he admitted his struggle aligned with mine. Tears poured down my face as we talked about a future we hope to happen. I have to remember cancer didn’t just happen to me, it happened to him as well. Today when he came home from work I was watching a movie and a cute song came on and he pulled me up so we can dance to it. It was a Christmas song, but we didn’t care as we swayed to the music. When life gets tough, it’s his arms and his shoulders I’m grateful for. 

  • February 28, 2017 - 12:08 am

    Rita alicea - Although you may feel cancer has taken some of the personality you used to possess, I also see a positive change in you. Your personality has blossomed into confidence, Strength and beauty!!! It has also shown you the loyalty of your husband and family, how much you are truly loved! I’ve Said it before and I’ll say it again, you’re my younger cousin, but I look up to you in so many ways!! Love you cuz….ReplyCancel

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I feel uneasy sharing this photo. I’ve never shared it before. This was me during chemo. Before I lost my brows, but still very much bald with a few baby hairs that grew back. I remember I felt pretty with my makeup on, but my bald head got in the way of that feeling. I was going to put my wig on, and my husband forced me to take this photo before I did. He said I looked beautiful no matter what. I’m sharing this because it is World Cancer Day so today is a reminder to check yourself. A reminder to support your loved ones if they are going through chemo, and a reminder to cherish every moment and thank God for what you do have in life. 


P.S. Thank you for your prayers. I had my MRI and God was with me. I felt a sense of peace and calm during it. Results on Monday. 
Edit: I’m all good! MRI came back normal!

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So even after all those reassurances in my last post the next day (even a bit that night) I was feeling like a victim. I didn’t know it though. I was sulking and was in a funk, but I couldn’t pull myself out. I was living in a state of worry. Worry is meditation with the wrong mindset. I was already thinking of what life would be like if¬†my worst fear came true after my brain MRI (stage 4). Why plan for the future? How could I plan an event I want to do for Hope25 with this fear and weight over my head. Why work? So I woke up yesterday and today. Yesterday I prayed a bit, but I was sluggish in my mind. I’m so thankful my brother picked me up for lunch and for the rest of the day I wasn’t alone. At night I saw a verse, the same one a friend texted me earlier in the week, on Facebook.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ‚ÄĒ‚Ä≠‚Ä≠Isaiah 41:10

Today I didn’t even feel like praying much. I was fully aware that God is with me, but I was hesitant to do life. I scrolled through social media desperately trying to escape my own life. I was trying to distract myself. Ok enough I thought, as I prayed and opened up the bible app. I couldn’t concentrate though, but I remembered a friend asking if I had gone to church Sunday. She said it was a really good service. ¬†So I listened to the podcast but again found myself scrolling through social media. Nope…I paused it and put on the video.

She talked about Romans 8 (click here for her sermon). A part of that verse is, “in all these things we are more than conquerors¬†through him who loved us.” More than conquerors. I was letting my situation be the conquerer wasn’t I? “Victims believed they have been conquered, victors believed they are a conquerer.”

“Do you talk to God about your circumstances or do you talk to your circumstances about your God?”

That’s when I heard the word victim. I’m not playing the victim card am I? I was… You have to listen to her speak, I couldn’t possibly write about it as good as she talks about it. It’s only 34 minutes so listen!

At the end of the service I watched, I was literally crying. I was living in worry in my head. Assuming the worst instead of just resting in God’s presence and goodness. Can you believe she talked about my verse?

Philippians 4: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Philippians 4:6

 

There it is again. The verse. Ok God, I get it. You’re with me.

After that the weight was lifted. Whatever happens I will be ok. My husband keeps reminding me that God doesn’t take away what he’s given us. He believes I’ve been given complete healing, and I have to believe that. I think deep down inside, I do. I just let worry take over my mind.

So Still, pray for me please.

Still waiting on insurance to approve it for Saturday, but I’ll keep ya updated.

As always, thanks for reading.

  • February 3, 2017 - 6:02 am

    Naomi Schell - Melissa- I am so happy that God found you in that dark place and that you reached out to him. It can be so easy just to stay scared. I’m glad you are moving into His peace! Love ya!
    NaomiReplyCancel

  • March 14, 2017 - 12:21 am

    Alexis - I’m really happy for you, but for me it’s difficult to have faith and fall through the cracks and hoping he will be there, I don’t want to be negative, he haven’t been there for me and I want some adviceReplyCancel

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So there I was yesterday. Nervous. A new doctor. It was just a normal yearly exam. I went over my list my husband made me write so I wouldn’t forget what’s been going on. Migraines and auras were one of those things. She said it was just to get a baseline and she thinks I’m having tension headaches, but “Brain MRI” was to be prescribed. So I left crying. I felt myself crumbling under the weight of fear and anxiety. Flashbacks of when the doctor at the time had me do a breast ultrasound. Flashbacks of fear and uncertainty. I sat in the car crying as I told him my fears of cancer and more. My husband picked me back up. He made me pray. So we prayed. And prayed..and I mumbled this prayer….
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.) Philippians 4:6-7
He refused to let me drive home, so he called off. I reached out to a friend for prayer and she said told me to go to my church’s Facebook page because they had posted a bible verse. Do you know what it said? That verse I had just prayed. Philippians 4:6-7. Funny how God works. I reflected, and then looked at a verse an old friend randomly texted me a few days ago. 
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
That God of ours, he knows what he’s doing doesn’t he? 
I usually don’t believe in these things but as we talked about those two verses he joked and said see? What more do you want (to know God is talking to you)? Do you want a light to come down and shine on you? I said, yes. Yes I do. We laughed and I looked down at my phone when he said “babe…babe!” I looked up and seriously the clouds broke through and the sun was shining. Crazy? I know. Coincidence? Maybe. 


(Above yesterday’s bible verse of the day)
The point? I felt peace on the ride home. Comforted by God. I can’t deny that he spoke to me. Too often we second guess ourselves and even more we look past God’s presence when it’s right in front of us. 
I’m still scared to do a brain MRI. I will take anxiety meds in Saturday morning before the MRI. It will take 48 hours to get the results but keep in min I’m going on a weekend. So by Tuesday possibly. I will Continue to punch fear in the face, but I know I will have some weak moments. I’m thankful for family who got together for dinner last night so my mind wouldn’t wander. 
Will you pray for me though? For complete healing in my body. For no cancer. I have to believe that God has healed me and won’t take away that gift, but pray for my anxiety to be gone while I deal with this. My body still needs healing from chemo side effects like a lack of a menstrual cycle.
Thank you. 
Edited to add: insurance needs more info about this MRI so they haven’t approved it yet. Please pray that I can get this done asap. I don’t want to delay it. 

  • February 3, 2017 - 12:48 am

    Ivette Pagan - My beautiful, Melissa

    I will be praying for you fervently. God is faithful and He is good. We believe in a Mighty God!

    Always remember that your are covered by His blood and He watches over you.

    God bless you.

    Love,
    IvetteReplyCancel

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