It's been a crazy two years and yet, here I am, alive, thank God! This time of year I always try to get you to read my story.
I'm an 18 year breast cancer survivor. I found my cancer by doing my breast self exam. I was doing my breast self exam because my OB/GYN reminded me each year I needed to -- by having me watch a Komen VHS educational video tape and giving me a shower placard on how to perform a breast self exam which I hung in my shower.
Well, I found it early, stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma, hormone receptor positive, her-2 negative, grade 3 cancer. After a lumpectomy, I had 8 courses of chemo, each course was three weeks apart. 4 courses of Xeloda and Taxotere and 4 courses of FEC (5FU, Epirubicin and Cytoxan). My chemo was followed by 6 weeks of radiation followed by 5 years of taking Tamoxifen and 5 years of taking Femara. I lost my hair and had all the ugly side effects you see or read about. I hugged the toilet, lost weight, gained weight. Being a patient at MD Anderson I participated in several clinical trials, including taking the Xeloda which caused my toes and fingers to blister. My hands and feet hurt so bad, I wore house slippers to work and gloves for my hands. I couldn't even button my clothes or zip up my pants. After my first chemo, I ended up in the hospital from Pancreatitis due to side effects from the steroid. I was trying to have a baby before my cancer and the chemo caused infertility, changing my life plan of having children one day.
Spring forward to 2020, 17 years later, my sister Suzanne Marie Saenz
was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma. Her first diagnosis at the beginning of the pandemic 2020 and her 2nd this 2021. So after a double mastectomy and countless surgeries, all by herself because of COVID, she had 6 weeks of radiation. She got COVID twice during this time but thankfully had mild cases. Not to mention all her crazy fights with insurance.
So yes, we struggled through our cancer but in the end we both survived and came out stronger, more faithful women. We survived to be living testaments that we are alive to share our stories so that we can save others lives, share our testimony of faith and positive attitudes and our trust in medicine, the doctors, the clinical trials that someone did one day to help save our lives and make treatment less invasive.
Please join our fight! Two sisters, ONE fight against breast cancer! We are both participating in the Komen Race For the Cure in Houston on October 2 because Komen as an organization has helped women like us by granting funds towards research such as that I participated in while a patient at MD Anderson, they grant funds to help the underserved receive treatment and mammograms, they provide a community for us survivors to help and support each other and they provide educational grants and materials, much like ones I watched each year at my OB/GYN. So PLEASE help! Cancer doesn't stop because of pandemics, recessions, floods, ice storms, it continues and until there is a cure, Suzie and I will be two sisters helping to fight ONE cause, a cure.