Marqui, diagnosed at 24
I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma at the age of 24 in March of 2014.
Prior to my diagnosis, in March of 2013 I was seen by the Breast Care Center of Temecula Valley for a suspected implant rupture. There was no rupture found however there were two benign appearing masses in my left breast that were most likely fibroadenomas. It was recommended to have a follow up sonogram done in 6 months to confirm stability. Six months later I received a reminder letter from the Breast Care Center to schedule my 6 month follow up appointment. During this time (September 2013) I had so much going on with now being a working woman that I put my appointment reminder on the back burner. On March 1, 2014 I discovered a lump one saturday morning and I immediately made an appointment with my primary doctor. I was referred back to the Breast Care Center of Temecula Valley for a sonogram. At this point I was 6 months late for my recommended follow up appointment and I had failed to make my health a priority.
Then, on March 28th of 2014, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
Hearing the news that the pathology report tested positive for Stage 2 Breast Cancer was not a surprise to me. At a very young age I watched one of my favorite Aunts suffer and lose the battle against Breast Cancer. Since then there was always a growing fear that I would one day face the same battle. It was almost as if I felt cursed or knew I was pre-destined to one day go down this road. But just like anyone who ever experienced the first time uttering the words to themselves, "I have Cancer" the tears began to fall. I decided that was the first and last day I would ever shed a tear over my diagnosis.
Instead, I wanted to find away to make this battle worth it, by making a difference, by becoming an inspiration to others. I decided to take the worry out of everything. I stopped worrying about chemo, losing my hair, not surviving or even losing a breast. Those things no longer mattered to me, they no longer scared me. What scared me the most, was missing my opportunity to turn this into something beautiful.
When I was first diagnosed, the Radiologist decided she wanted to perform a second biopsy on another tumor to determine if I had multifocal or multicentric Breast Cancer. While in the waiting room I noticed an older lady coming out of the exam room. The look on her face was all too familiar, filled with shock and heartache. As she stood alone with her body trembling, I could tell she was fighting back the tears. Something pulled on my heart to find a way to embrace her. I offered her a glass of water and I told her, "something is tugging on my heart to hug you right now". So I gave her a big hug and I told her everything will be okay. There was a small sense of relief on her face to know she was was not alone.
I was never alone while battling cancer. I was blessed to have an army of family, friends and even strangers supporting me. But even with my army of supporters there was one thing missing, a cancer companion. There is nothing like receiving love and support from family and friends. Again I was blessed to have that. But I wanted to be able to connect with other women my age that were fighting a similar battle. I wanted a way to build local and distant friendships with others who were also battling cancer. Throughout my journey with cancer I use to blog about my battle. One day another women who was also battling breast cancer contacted me on Facebook. She told me she was inspired by my blog and she too was a young woman battling cancer. We instantly became friends and became another sense of support for one another. It was then I knew, I wasn't the only one out there who wanted someone who also had cancer to connect with. With the help of my sister and aunt, the idea of Chemo Friends was born.
Chemo Friends is designed to help unite fighters and survivors for the fight against cancer. My dream is for those who are struggling with cancer to never feel alone. There are many people out there like me, who have support but still want to meet someone to fight with who truly understands. There are also some people out there who prefer not to share their cancer journey with friends and family, and that is ok. We all handle these journeys differently. But no one should have to go through this journey alone. And the best company when battling cancer, is fighting alongside someone else who has the same focus in mind, TO WIN!
If you want to connect with other fighters and survivors, sign up for Chemo Friends today at www.chemofriends.com.