Natalia Hernandez, Stage 4 breast cancer
Hi! My name is Natalia, I'm 26, and I was diagnosed back in August with stage 4 Breast Cancer, which spread all over my back, pelvic area and tail bone. I am currently waiting for my surgery on the 28th of this month, to have my left breast completely removed.
As long as I can remember, femininity, my trendy clothes and going out almost all the time was my life. I never worried about seeing the doctor or ever getting a check up. My life was party after party. I have always had a live for the moment type of attitude.
I always told my mom and my friends you only live once: do what you want, who cares about tomorrow? Boy, did my mind and my attitude totally change.
I felt a lump in my left breast and I didn't pay any attention to it. Time went by and it started to get bigger and bigger. I brought it to my docto'rs attention, and she said that it was an infected fibroid cell, that I was way too young to have breast cancer and I shouldn't worry about it. She prescribed me some anti-infection pills and anti-inflamation meds as well. I took the pills and noticed no difference in the lump.
I started to notice that the top of my breast looked like an orange peel, it was a darker tone of skin than the rest of my breast and it was scrunched together and it felt like the skin of orange. At that point I knew something was wrong. My back also started affecting me really badly, to the point that some days I could not get out of bed to go to work because the pain would not allow me to stand up.
I went to my doctor again and she suggested that I should get an ultrasound and also referred me to an orthopedic surgeon for my back. I made my appointments and my doctor gave me pain killers for my back pain until we could figure out what was wrong. I finally get my ultrasound and I will never forget the results.
The word still haunt me day after day. I was with my mom and my boyfriend, I can't remember what I was doing, where we all were, the day, the time or if it was raining or sunny, but my phone rings and it was my doctor telling me the results came back and I had breast cancer and that I should get help as soon as possible. I get off the phone and tell my mom I have breast cancer, we all went silent, no one in the car said a word.
I started going to the Rose Center for breast cancer and started getting all my lab work done. It turned out that I had stage 4 breast cancer, and we had to move quickly because I was in bad shape. I was also seeing my doctor for my back, he told me that something was wrong with my disk, and I needed a steroid injection. I had my surgery for the injection, but things didn't get better, they got worse.
I started running fevers every single day, and I stopped eating. I weighed 127 pounds and in a matter of a week and a half I was almost skin and bones, losing several pounds a day. As I wait for MD Anderson, which is a well known cancer hospital, I can no longer walk.
I went to several emergency rooms, and everytime they turned me away with a prescription for pain killers. I was taking so many pain killers for my pain and the horrible fevers I was becoming delirious and everything became a blur, I don't remember a lot of things that happened to me. I finally ended up at yet another emergency room, but this time I told them I would not leave without some answers on what was wrong with my back.
My Oncologist actually had an office in that hospital, so that helped me to get the help I needed. After a CT scan of my back, they moved me to my own room. It turned out to be tumors that had spread from my breast to my back. At this point I weighed 96 pounds. I stayed in the hospital 2 weeks for testing, and I had been extremely dehydrated.
I started radiation and after that I started my chemo.
It has been 6 months since chemo, and I'm thrilled to say that my cancer has stopped spreading and I'm getting better. I had my meeting with my surgeon today, and we will be removing my breast. I am bummed because the whole breast will be gone and I will need reconstruction of my breast and my nipple. So hopefully this will be over soon.
My life has completely changed, and I don't look at this experience in a bad way. I look at it as if this was suppose to happen to me, so that I can help others. I don't wanna be vain and party anymore. I have realized there is so much more to life than that.
There are so many people suffering from this disease, and I wanna help. I have learned a lot from people's experiences, and I love going to my treatments and talking to women who are going through what I'm going through.
Through this website I learned not to be scared of my surgery and reconstruction of my breast and to look forward to getting better and all the great things that are to come in life by just living, breathing and enjoying the people and the things around me. Thank you for reading my story, and please tell everyone you know that cancer sees no age all women should get checked so that they dont wait too long and go through what I went through!