Angela's Story

I was initially diagnosed with breast cancer on February 12, 2009. I had been getting mammograms since I was 25 because my mom also had breast cancer. While I knew the likelihood was probable, I thought I’d be in my 50s or 60s not 33 with a 3 year old and 7 months old. It threw me off my type A mommy hood and life.

Trying to be the optimist, I started looking for my ‘silver lining.’ My short list was:
* Better me with this disease than the kids.
* My mom made it through treatment for another 15 yrs.
* It would bring my family closer.
* I would always be present and enjoy every moment.

I started with chemo in order to shrink my tumor. The treatment left me fatigued, achy with lots of pain. I stayed in bed most days. When my youngest had a stomach bug, I couldn’t be there for him. I couldn’t afford to get sick with a weakened immune system. This disease kept me away from the job I loved the most- being a mommy. It also took me from being a wife and friend. But it also strengthened me. I can do this. I can do anything for a year. My oncologist gave me the best advice, “one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be through this.” I took her words to heart. I went through losing my hair, a mastectomy and radiation. While it was hard to appreciate and be in every moment. I did it and I was able to be me – a mommy, a gym fan, a dinner companion, a person living my life.

As I continue to battle this disease, I have my good and bad days. Stage IV is not curable, only treatable. I continue chemo to prolong my life with my family. I refuse to believe this is where my story ends. I listen to body much more and if I remain semi-active I consider it a good day. Of course the boys know about my diagnosis and are now older so they are aware of every pain and side effect. Perhaps another silver lining, they have become extremely supportive and helpful like my husband and friends.

Angela Andrade, October 2014