In 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy to remove the cancer and help prevent future recurrences. I was lucky at the time not to have to undergo chemotherapy, as it generally leads to infertility, and in January of 2015 we found out we were pregnant.
A few months into the pregnancy, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer that showed up in my lymph nodes. Because the cancer was estrogen sensitive again, the hormones from the pregnancy created a heavy risk for the cancer to rapidly spread to the rest of my body. My choices were to abort the pregnancy, undergo chemotherapy during the pregnancy, or do nothing and risk having the cancer spread. After much research, I chose chemotherapy and underwent my first treatment in April 2015.
With the support of hundreds of people around the world, cheering us on, praying for us, and following the progress of our sweet little miracle, we were so happy that our little guy, Joaquin, was born in July 2015. He was born at 1.5 lbs, had no other health issues and spent two months in the hospital to grow before joining us at home. We feel so blessed every day that we have such a beautiful healthy child in our lives.
I, on the other hand, had a very traumatic health experience after his birth that left me hospitalized for 20 days and a long recovery at home. Shortly after his birth, I experienced Spinal Headache , then as a result of extreme high blood pressure from Preeclampsia, I ended up in the ICU with PRES Syndrome (a reversible brain damage that took 6 weeks to clear up) and C. Diff that kept me from seeing Joaquin for two weeks while I fought off the extremely contagious and often deadly bacteria.
It took over a year for my body to recover from all the trauma from chemo and the post partum health issues but I worked so diligently at rebuilding my body through health, nutrition, spirituality and love all while navigating being a new mother. After a while, things were finally looking up, and it felt as if a very dark chapter in our lives was finally coming to a close. But in April of 2017, after consecutive blood tests showed elevating tumor markers, I had an MRI showing new lymph involvement and two small spots in my liver. We followed up with a full body CT/PET scan and the cancer was more advanced than any of us expected (more liver and lymph involvement as well as a spot in my sacrum). We don’t know if it’s been slowly growing for the last two years, or if it’s galloping quickly. To quickly get a handle of this before it continues spreading, I will be undergoing a few round of chemo and then switch to hormone therapy which will shut down my ovaries and drastically reduce the amount of estrogen to the cancer. So here we go again.
Many of you have asked how you can help during this journey. We’d love for you to keep us in your thoughts and prayers and if you feel so inclined, a donation will go towards the rising medical costs that are associated with fighting cancer. You can also follow our visual journey documented on instagram: @vivavivian
Donations accepted here:
Thanks for checking in,
Vivian, Sasha, and Joaquin