Rizza Loen Lai

On June 19, 2012, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. It happened when my son accidentally kicked my right breast while playing. He was 6 months old at that time. I just ignored it but after 2 days, I felt a palpable mass on my breast and had increased pain. My husband advised me to see a doctor. My doctors ordered tests and after a week of testing, I got the call. You have Stage 2 breast cancer. That day I was so shocked! My husband quickly comforted me. I called my mom  who lives in the Philippines to tell her the news. “Our family does have a history of breast cancer, your grandmother passed away with Stage 4 she said” but still, I was not expecting this to happen to me.  I was far to young to think about the possibility. I just had a baby. The clock was ticking so we wasted no time and scheduled a mastectomy on Aug 8, 2012 just 6 days before my birthday. Not quite how I had envisioned spending my happy day! After surgery came chemotherapy and radiation.

During my treatments, my goal was to survive for my family and my young child. He will need me to guide him and love him through life.

As a young woman, the impact of having breast cancer is overwhelming. On one hand I have to accept that I will only have one child and on the other hand I feel blessed to have become pregnant before cancer knocked on my door.

Once you have cancer, the worry  that it may return is constant,  like a dull headache. The upside of cancer is “Living Stronger”. You have a greater appreciation of everything in your life. Your ability to love and be loved is enhanced 100 fold. Everyone of us must start down the dark tunnel called “fear of the unknown” but as we walk through it we gain the strength, courage and knowledge to emerge into the sunlight as a warrior. Some call it a journey, some call it a marathon and some call it a slip and slide. I like to call it , OVER!

AMEM and God Bless.