When I was 29, I felt something strange in my breast and decided to get it checked. The nurse said that I had lumpy breasts due to my cycle and that I was too young to get a mammogram. Another nurse and her actually ended up laughing at me as I left.
The following year my breast turned dark pink and what used to feel like the size of marble now felt like the size of a golf ball. Consequently, I made an appointment with my primary care physician and he immediately sent me to get an ultrasound that changed my life forever.
When the results of the positive cancer ultrasound came back, I thought that my world was falling apart. I was so scared and I felt like I couldn't do anything. I was about to graduate from the University of Houston, but I didn’t have a job, insurance and definitely didn't have the money for an expensive biopsy. Breast cancer came at the worst time in my life.
"The Rose—which to me stands for a help for life, a relief of fright and the solution to my problems—was a blessing in my time of despair."
To me, cancer was synonymous with death and I didn't know how I was going to fight it. My physician, however, gave me the best news in the world. He said, 'Don't worry, there's an organization that helps women who don't have the means to get the exams and treatment for this disease, they are very good.' So I patiently waited for my appointment at The Rose, and from then on, it's been an entirely different story.
The Rose—which to me stands for a help for life, relief of fright and the solution to my problems—was a blessing in my time of despair. It's because of The Rose that I am here telling my story of survival. Thanks to them I was able to get all of my biopsies, mammograms, and ultrasounds done at no cost, something I thought impossible before. They gave me faith, the faith I had somehow lost. They made me feel secure and sure that it was all going to be fine. The Rose is that light at the end of the tunnel when you think there's nowhere to go. They guide you, give you hope, counsel you and stand with you every step of the way.
By the time I was 30, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Type C, aggressive, inflammatory, invasive ductal carcinoma, HER2 positive cancer. When I completed my chemotherapy treatment and had my mastectomy, pathology tests came back cancer positive. I was then put in Stage 4 and treated with the cancer-fighting drug TDM-1. The Rose told me not to worry because everything would be taken care of. The person who took care of my case was a true angel, making sure that I had the best team of doctors to treat my cancer and all the financial support that I needed to complete my cancer treatment.
There are no words to express my gratitude to this group of ladies that will go above and beyond to provide access to proper care and treatment for cancer. To me, The Rose is synonymous with life. Thank you, The Rose. Because of you, I am alive. You gave me life, you gave me hope and because of you I can dream and I have a future.
Saving lives through quality breast health services, advocacy and access to care for all.