Nearly 6 years ago, I discovered a lump in my breast and received the diagnosis that would change my life forever: triple negative breast cancer. I was 30 years old and pregnant at the time. Yes, I was scared, confused, devastated and overwhelmed.
I underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy while bringing a new life into the world. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. On the toughest days of treatment, the little life inside of me was my motivation to keep fighting. And a fighter she was! On the day scheduled to be my final round of chemo, I went into early labor and delivered a beautiful baby girl. Born premature but perfectly healthy, Serenity arrived to let me know we had won our fight. She’s a living reminder that miracles happen. For women battling cancer while pregnant, there is Hope for Two.
After additional surgery and a failed reconstruction, I was declared cancer-free. I could not have gotten through my battle with breast cancer without the love and encouragement of my army of supporters, Team Roxy. During treatment, I found it helpful to talk with other survivors who had already walked a mile in my shoes. I used social media as a tool to connect with survivors all over the world.
Regardless of where you are in or out of treatment, it’s important to find the support you need. Some survivors shy away from the thought of a “support group” but I encourage you to find whatever works for you. You don’t have to do this alone.
I now lead a local breast cancer support group and serve as a Young Survival Coalition F2F Coordinator. To learn more about my story or for help finding a support network, connect with me at: www.team-roxy.com
Maya Angelou was such an inspirational, phenomenal woman. May she rest in peace. And we always remember her wise words.
Moments before being honored with the Courage Award at the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation Peace, Love & A Cure 2014 gala, I watched as the following video commemorated the theme of the night, Hope Grows Here.
As I heard my own words and saw my daughter’s face on screen, I couldn’t help but fight back tears. I wasn’t immediately sure how I could possibly share my story of hope with dry eyes. But I got myself together and did. After all, I was receiving the Courage Award!
While I shared insight into my battle against triple negative breast cancer while pregnant, I looked around to see that there weren’t many dry eyes in the audience. Like mine, they were tears of joy. I was there to give hope to others, just as I had drawn hope through my journey from fellow survivors, many of whom I connected with through the Foundation’s online forum and social media networks.
Pictured: Milli Rodriguez (left) and Roxanne Martinez (right) at Peace, Love & A Cure.
It was truly a blessing to be among this year’s Peace, Love & A Cure honorees, along with Celgene Corporation and Dr. Tiffany Traina of Memorial Sloan‑Kettering Cancer Center, and to share this special evening with friends, TNBC supporters and survivors.
Thank you to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation and its supporters for raising awareness, funding research in pursuit of a targeted treatment for this disease and for supporting patients and families affected by triple negative breast cancer. The organization’s endless efforts to find a cure gives hope to so many, including myself. To learn more, visit www.tnbcfoundation.org.