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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.

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. —‭‭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

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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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So I had my first 6 month post cancer treatment mammogram. I was nervous about it. My mom knew and took the day off since Joe had to work. I am so grateful for my mom and all that she has done. It was great to go and have her there. My husband met up with us once we had checked in. I saw in the office where I had a couple other tests done, and the same waiting room where I waited to get my surgery done. I was so emotional. I tried to hold it in, but a tear or two escaped. I was finally called back and my mom and husband gave me a hug. I went back and changed waist up. I kept the bracelet my dad gave me and my punch fear in the face necklace on. I like wearing things that help encourage me.


I saw down in the patient waiting room and saw another women across from me nervous. They called her back and then she came back. She looked so nervous. She ended up talking about how she had a single mastectomy and how she had a mammo in the other one today. She talked about how she loved her doctors and how everyone here is so kind. She got called back and got a clean mammo she came back down the hall laughing and smiling. I hoped that I would have the same good results.


I nervously kept texting Joe and then it was my turn. I got called back and the nurse was so nice. She kept doing small talk with me which helped me a lot. I still got emotional when it was time and I cried a little bit. She read my history and asked a few questions and was really nice about everything. She warned me that sometimes the images don’t print clear and they might have to do one image more. Don’t be alarmed if they call me back. I asked if I needed an ultrasound and she said not unless they need further imaging. I was so nervous about the pain since I’m still a bit sore after treatment, but It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The emotional part of it was way worse. The fears that come creeping in. I was done after imaging on both sides and sat back down. Too scared. Then she called me back for one more image. I’m so glad she warned me before, because I didn’t freak out when she called me back for more imaging. When that was done I sat back down. After several minutes passed she gave me a sheet of paper and said I was ok. I asked her again, I’m ok though? Everything is ok? With tears welling up in my eyes I needed her to say it again. She said yes, but since this is your first follow up mammo the doctors (not my doctor just the one there in imaging) wants to see you.

Video of my reaction after the nurse told me I was ok. 

​ 

So I changed and then went back to a small creepy room. I started getting scared a little bit because the room reminded me of the consult rooms I had to go into when I was first diagnosed and when I found out I had cancer/what treatment and cancer meant in my life. 


But I tried to be calm and she came in. I was a little annoyed because she asked me what my plan was for the future in regards to imaging. In my head I was like, you’re not my doctor of coarse I got this figured out. But she went on an on about my age and asked questions like if I had genetic testing and that I should be back every 6 months. I was pretty annoyed but hid it as I said Yes every 6 months it will rotate between a mammo and an MRI, and I told her I was BRCA -. Anyway, I signed some paperwork and I asked her again. “Everything is ok right?” “There is nothing to be concerned about.” She said that everything looked good and there was nothing of concern. So off I went back to my mom and husband and we hugged as I smiled and said I was ok.

So there you have it. 1 year and 3 months post diagnosis, 10 months post chemo, 9 months post surgery (when I was first cancer free), and 5 months post rads I can say I am cancer free…still. Praise God.


Unrelated photo of me and my nephew Hectito because I think it’s hilarious. ❤️

  • December 16, 2016 - 4:48 am

    Ivette - Amen and praise God!!ReplyCancel

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