Carla

Carla Diagnosed at 41

"I try to live my life every day with a grateful heart. No, I am not thankful for cancer. I am thankful for many things that cancer has given me."

My name is Carla, and I was diagnosed with ER+ PR+ Her2- stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in October 2010. I had seven months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, radiation, a hysterectomy, a craniotomy, and more radiation to treat the bone metastasis. Right now I am classified as NED-no evidence of disease (yay!) but I am realistic enough to know that it's a matter of time before it shows up again and we have another fight.

I try to live my life every day with a grateful heart. No, I am not thankful for cancer. I am thankful for many things that cancer has given me: amazing friendships, a new career in the medical field at a Breast Center, where I get to interact with newly diagnosed women and to be a source of encouragement to them, and a new way of looking at life, of prioritizing, of knowing what is important. I am a single mom to four amazing children, ages 19-6, with my youngest being one at the time of my diagnosis. I tell people all of the time when they ask how I made it through treatment, "You can't stay in bed feeling sorry for yourself when you have little faces looking at you wanting breakfast!"

After my first year of treatment, I decided the best way to keep going was to turn my focus outward, to help others. I love being a contact person for newly diagnosed women, especially young women. I'm involved with a local group in Lafayette called the Pink Ribbon Divas, and I am so excited to start working with YSC. Support is essential! I credit my group with saving me, especially my sanity! There is nothing like being in a room with other people who just "get" you, who will laugh and cry with you, and encourage and support you. I'm hoping to have many more years to watch my children grow, to spend as much time laughing with family and friends, to travel, and to help educate and support my community. I will keep living and laughing and loving as much as possible!

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