Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Survivor
Roxanne Martinez was diagnosed with Stage IIB triple-negative breast cancer at only 30 years old. She was just starting a family and faced incredible challenges as she fought for her life and the life of her unborn daughter.
I was pregnant with my first child at the time of my diagnosis. My treatment plan entailed an immediate mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy starting in my second trimester. I based my treatment decisions on research and the advice of my oncologist and other medical experts and decided on a course that would allow me to continue with my pregnancy while also fighting for my own life.
Because I needed to undergo treatment while pregnant, I was forced to balance prenatal checkups and treatment. With chemo every other week, it was a rough pregnancy. On the day of my last scheduled chemo appointment, I instead went into early labor. Despite being born premature, my baby girl was born perfectly healthy. She's my miracle. After her birth, I underwent additional surgery, which brought with it many challenges for a new mom.
My diagnosis brought on a roller coaster of emotions. I faced many dark moments during my battle with breast cancer, but there were also many overwhelming moments of joy. Fighting cancer takes a huge toll on you emotionally, and one thing I learned was that it doesn't get easier just because you finished treatment. As a survivor, you're often still faced with depression, anxiety and other emotions. And fear of recurrence can consume you. After treatment, I started seeing a psychotherapist and tried yoga and meditation to reduce anxiety. About 4 years after my diagnosis, I made the conscious decision to completely let go of my fear that the cancer would return. At first, it took a daily effort to not focus on breast cancer, but it has gotten easier as time goes on.
It’s important not to focus on the negative. You can survive triple-negative breast cancer. Seek out the support you need and know that it may come from unexpected sources. Connect with other triple-negative survivors through groups like the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. You are not alone in this fight.