Meet Our Survivors
I am a 10-year survivor of Stage 3 Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Breast Cancer). I have been a patient of St. Joseph’s Center for Cancer Prevention and Treatment since December 2007, and most recently a patient of Hoag Hospital Presbyterian. After my diagnosis, I went to war against the cancer that was killing me with 16 weeks of dose-dense chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, 7 weeks of daily radiation treatments, a latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction surgery with tissue expanders and many subsequent reconstructive surgeries. Additionally, I am a BRCA 1 breast cancer gene carrier, therefore, I had a hysterectomy to decrease my heightened risk of ovarian and other gynecologic cancers. I have made it my personal mission to help patients adjust to their “new normal” lives as survivors with the development of sustainable and impactful programs and services offered by Cancer Kinship.
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer shortly after my 32nd birthday. I felt a lump in my right breast, went in for a mammogram, which led to a biopsy which resulted in a diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer. Due to the number of women diagnosed with cancer on my dad’s side of the family, my surgeon requested I have a genetic test done and it came back positive for the BRCA 1 gene. Knowing this made my decision to have a bilateral mastectomy a no brainer. Although I was terrified of what I was going to have to go through, I was relieved and grateful that it was caught early. I would have a second chance at life and this time I was NOT going to take it for granted. Since then I’ve gone skydiving, been traveling, running half-marathons, practicing yoga and spending quality time with the ones I love. I lead a simple and fulfilling life and I surround myself with positive people
I have been a soccer referee for 40 years and spent lots of time in the sun. Is that the reason I got Melanoma? Hard to say but it is a contributing factor. I had surgery to remove a large stage 3 tumor on my neck and had 6 lymph nodes resected. Thankfully there was no cancer in the nodes so I was spared chemo and radiation. Never hurts to have a little luck. You have to defeat cancer, not let it define you. Fortunately, I was treated at the premier cancer center and by the top doctors and nurses and staff. God is great.
I stand here 10 yrs later cancer free and enjoying my life with my lovely wife and daughters! A lot has happened. I received my Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University and was promoted to Regional Manager at the County of Orange. My family and I are thriving. My daughter Miranda was accepted to attend the Orange County School of the Arts and my daughter Alexis was accepted to attend her freshman year at California State University, Fullerton. My wife Angela continues to be my greatest champion and support! I continue to stay vigilant with my health. I have taken up Zumba, I love to dance, especially when it helps me stay healthy. I also try to go to the gym 2 to 3 times a week and continue eating healthy, maybe I cheat once in a while. I also snowboard when there is chance to catch some snow in Big Bear. My family and I are planning to go to Rosarito, Mexico this summer to celebrate my 10 year cancer free anniversary. I give thanks to God every day for giving me the opportunity to live my life with all my loved ones and to never forget how lovely life is.
I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in March 2018 at fifty years old. I had been terrified of getting breast cancer after my mother was diagnosed at age 47. Although my prognosis was very good, when I received the news from the radiologist, I went into a state of shock and experienced overwhelming anxiety. As a single mom of a fifteen year-old daughter, I just wanted to protect her from her own sadness and fear of me having cancer. Fortunately my incredible surgeon, Dr. Sadia Khan, and my oncology/radiology team at Hoag guided me through the treatment plan of a lumpectomy, six and half weeks of radiation and ongoing hormone therapy. I was on a high as I went through the treatment on my road to becoming a SURVIVOR! But, I was completely unprepared for the severe panic attacks and the isolation that I would struggle with AFTER treatment. With the help of a therapist and a dear friend who became my mentor having experienced breast cancer herself two years prior, I was able to navigate my mental health issues and feel understood and protected. Today, a year and half since the diagnosis, I feel like I have gained a clean slate of vibrant health and, equally important, a vibrant life! Cancer gives you an opportunity to realign with who you are and who you WANT to be. My whole life changed and there have been so many silver linings! I’m thrilled to work as the Volunteer Manager and an Americorps Fellow at Cancer Kinship and help change lives through empowerment, mentorship and community.