Mom Amelia with children
Story and Photo Credit: Laura Gordillo Photography

When you go through so much in life you become “numb” to certain things, my diagnosis was definitely one of those times where I didn’t know what, let alone how to feel, or accept what was going on. I had just gotten back from Tennessee, where my now, 11 year old son was treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a brain tumor.I had been back at work only 3 months, still working on getting back to “normal”. Now I was being told I, too, had that disease that threatened to take my son only 6 months prior. Within a week of my wellness checkup, I had already had an ultrasound, a mammogram, a biopsy, was diagnosed and a mastectomy in that order.

After my surgery is when it all hit me, I was not ME anymore! No breast, a huge scar, I would have 4 more surgeries besides the mastectomy, I would need a port for the chemo, I would be starting chemo, I would be losing my hair, so many changes and I was only 26!

The worst thing in my life was not my diagnosis; it was having to see my son go through 2 brain surgeries and radiation. Having to be apart from my other son, those were the worst 6 months of my life. Being a single mother isn’t easy, I’ve never been one to complain about that, but add work, treatment and worrying for your kid’s health and it becomes sometimes unbearable. From Juan’s diagnosis, to being in Tennessee away from Javier, I thought I couldn’t handle anything else. Little did I know I had a long, frustrating fight of my own coming my way. Not only did I have cancer; I was fired from my job that I had been at for almost 6 years. They no longer needed someone that was taking as much time off as I was, due to my son’s and my treatment. Harsh being that I worked with all doctors, you would think they would understand a little more than any other employer. Even with that I managed to get by, yes I cried, I was mad, I was sad, frustrated, but I was also happy that I was getting to enjoy moments with my boys that became much, much more precious and priceless than before. My boys are my motivation, my strength, what gets me through my darkest days.

Funny how throughout all of this, I never feared death, but what did terrify me was the thought of my kids having to grow up without me. That’s when I decided I would FIGHT! This was not going to take me away from them. Yeah, I had my moments of weakness, of being on the verge of giving up, but looking back now I’m proud of myself for getting through it all. I am now 8 months post chemo, a week post radiation, on my 8th month of Herceptin (5 more months to go), on my 2nd month at my new job, and looking forward to my future. I’m not your average 27 year old, I never have been, but I can now say I accept and am happy with the new me… scars and all!