October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime making it the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Beautype encourages the performance of routine check-ups and monthly self-examinations. We’d like to share with you a series of stories of women who have won the fight, and are still fighting. After 10 years in remission, Yaya bravely shares her breast cancer survival story with Beautype.
I was watching TV the other day. I think it was Angelina Jolie. People like her have this and that. They’re rich and famous, so their disease matters. How many poor women like us went through hell and back and people don’t know? They’re invisible. If you’re not someone close to me and you didn’t go through this with me, you wouldn’t know. Today, I’m famous.
I received my diagnosis 20 years ago. I was forty years old. Oh, now you’ll know my real age. I am sixty now!
I found it myself. I felt pain, did a self-exam and found a lump. They performed a biopsy through a needle. Prior to the visit, the only symptoms I had were a pain under my shoulder, and my hand went numb, but some people don’t experience any symptoms. After the biopsy, I was taking chemotherapy pills for ten years.
When I was diagnosed, I think it was stage three, though I try not to remember those things. I felt like I lost the whole world. I got scared. Just the word cancer makes you very upset. I cried and said, “Why me?” You know things like that, what was I gonna say?!
In one breast, I had the lump and in the other, it looked like someone took sand and threw it in my breast. The doctor said I had to start chemotherapy; surgery to remove both breasts and lymph nodes to make sure it didn’t spread. He said I could remove one breast and in a year, remove the other. I didn’t want to take the chance, and I didn’t want to go through it again. Some time after, I was scheduled for a double mastectomy and breast augmentation.
I was watching TV the other day. I think it was Angelina Jolie. People like her have this and that. They’re rich and famous, so their disease matters. How many poor women like us went through hell and back and people don’t know?
It wasn’t something that ran in my family. Every year, when my son was little I had lumps, they removed liquid, and they said it was nothing. After that, the lumps never came back. Until, the doctor said to me, “Everyone has cancer cells in the body. It depends on a trigger, and it will come out.”
My son, my sister, they cared for me, but I stayed by myself. There are many people who don’t know I had breast cancer, people are afraid to deal with that. My son, when he came to see me in the hospital he just looked at me. I was in the hospital for a week, and then I went home. As far as a therapy or emotional support, to tell you the truth they never offered it, and I didn’t want it even if they did. [why?] shrugs
My health today? Very good, everything. All the time I have it in the back of my head. I try not to think about it. Just when I hear someone is in the hospital, and I hear the word cancer, I worry. I go for my test and everything is okay.
I take everything the way it comes now. Don’t worry too much. I worry, but I don’t let it consume me. Something happens it’s going to happen. You can’t change certain things. You have to take life one day at a time.