It is a pleasure to be here sharing my history with you, because it is something I am proud of.
Just like Pollyanna, character of the Eleanor H. Porter book, which ran the world with the optimistic lessons from a girl, it is necessary to play “the glad game” every day. Having this in mind, I’d say that I am grateful for everything I’ve been through and for the things that the cancer gave me. Because it was after this disease that I felt it was my job to share this experience with everyone I can.
It all started in 1994, when I was 18 years old, I’ve been through some things that modified me and determined the person I am today. My parents went to live in Africa and me and my sisters, overnight, had to deal with all the things related to housekeeping routines and paying bills.
My father was sick while living there and went back to Brazil to have surgery. He was a soccer coach and it was in the middle of the season, so after only two weeks he had to go back to work in Mozambique. We had to receive the surgery biopsy results and we were devastated when we learned about the kidney cancer.
During his disease, he adopted the negation posture: did not tell anybody, hided from the family and friends and just gave up, being even more debilitated, weighing from 100 to 60 kg in only eight months.
Our astral hell was only beginning… When was already weak due to the treatment and we suffered in silence with everything that was happening, my mother crashed the car against a tree and was between life and death in the ITC of a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro.
It was 52 terrible days... only in the first two weeks she had 3 abdominal surgeries; we were expecting her to pass away, the doctors had no hope she would recover. And the three of us was there, strong and faithful, feeding the roots that made us into the warriors we are today!
Fortunately, and miraculously the Heavens’ Lord saved my mother, with no scars or consequences, but He could not save my father. For three years I was not friends with Him. Afterwards, how could He be so unfair for making us go through all that? How come He did not give strength to my father so he could fight the disease? How come He did not give us resources to make him want to live?
Naturally I was rescuing my faith and Life gave me a lot of those answers latter. 2007 was a really happy year, I was pregnant with my first child. On a February morning, when I was showering, I had an auto-exam and noticed a node on my right breast. I confess that I thought it was normal due to the pregnancy. I called my doctor and had an appointment for the next day, just for precaution, because I’ve never heard about a pregnant woman with cancer!
Unfortunately, I was wrong and the biopsy was positive for breast cancer. Once more I had to manage all the chaos that life was insisting in throwing at me.
I had the news from my husband that, unbelieving and desperate, tried to make me believe that everything was going to be alright. If I did not have him to support me and love me the way he did, all this would be a lot harder. We went home and our porch net soothed our affliction until the hardest appointment of our lives with the breast doctor.
Our biggest concern was to hear from the doctor that we would have to choose between our baby’s life and the treatment, even after we already had this choice decided, my life was priority. But then we have the first signal that, that same Heaven’s Lord that I fought for so long, was by my side. The breast doctor, Dr. Paulo Cesar Rocha, calmed us saying that was possible, even being rare, to conduct the treatment during the pregnancy. We preferred to believe with all our faith in what he was saying, but my chances would be bigger if I had surgery soon.
I had an insight and, all of sudden, everything that I went through with my father flashed into my mind and then I started to see the learning and answers left from all the suffering with his disease. I didn’t want for me the same end my father wrote for him and I would not admit that any cancer I had could take my zest to live away, to give life to my child or my right to be HAPPY. It was right there I started my battle.
As soon as I left the doctor’s office, I called everyone in my family that were still in Rio (it was Carnaval’s Eve). I asked everybody to go to my mother’s house and, when they were all arrived, I told them I had cancer. It was a shock, my mother fell apart, but, again, I felt an enormous strength from inside me claiming for life, and I stated to all that we were going to win that, but I needed them by my side and believing in it together.
From my suspicious in the bathroom until my surgery were exactly 16 days. I was in the 21st week when I took my right breast off. It was very tense due to be risking my life and my child’s. In the operating room, my OB/GYM was following up and monitoring all my son’s moves. The surgery was successful, but the battle was only beginning.
Still pregnant, I started chemotherapy with the red blood cells, that horrible one, in which everyone is sick, vomiting and losing their hair. Then I had the white blood cells, with 16 applications I, miraculously, NEVER felt anything but tired. With 34 weeks I gave birth to my son, a winner baby - pretty, smart and healthy – and he also never gave up life and, due to all of this, was named Bento (means holy, sacred, in Portuguese).
You didn’t imagine how many people were touched by my disease, how many people that didn’t even know me prayed from me and my son… how many people used their faith, regardless of their religion, to send me positive health vibrations, how many presents to Bento I received from people I don’t even know. And, the most important and impressive thing, how many people were touched by my history and, anyhow had their perception of life changed forever!!!
I am so PROUD of being the vehicle of a history with sadness, strength, determination, courage, FAITH, friendship, solidarity, believe, love and SUCCESS, and with the power of influencing so many lives and with a HAPPY ending. I had a lot of guardian angels in my life, that were by my side and helped me to keep wanting to live and find inside me an ABSURD strength, which impressed all! I never doubted that inside me I would find my cure!
Accept your disease, talk about it naturally, understand it, study it and realize how Lucky you are to exchange one or both breasts for your life instead of felling mutilated, are the bests weapons to fight cancer!
The Foundation Laço Rosa emerged from the need to thank for my life and helping to save others. This is our mission. May my history be an example for another life, may you share it with another people whenever you think is necessary and may you see, as I did, the opportunities that Lord’s life brings us. Even when they seem disguised by tragedies, don’t give up! Always believe that there is a reason behind everything we’ve been through!
“Though I can’t go back and begin again, but anyone can start now and make another end”