As you probably know by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For many, it’s a time to don one of the prettiest shades in the spectrum; perhaps they’ll lace up their tennis shoes for a run. But for some, it will serve as a reminder of the toughest battles they’ve ever been up against.
Roxanne Martinez remembers that time. But for her, the shock and disbelief was compounded by the fact that she had just discovered she was pregnant. Yes, pregnant with breast cancer.
I am the daughter of not one but two breast cancer survivors and in 2007, battling my own breast disease, I had a preventive mastectomy. Needless to say, breast cancer awareness and education are very important to me. Roxanne is one of the remarkable women who have agreed to take part in our 3rd annual Survivor Series on Goodenoughmother.com. Her course of treatment, what she was thinking when the doctor told her she had breast cancer and how she feels now, are sentiments mirrored by the hundreds of thousands of women diagnosed in this country each year.
Take a moment to read Roxanne’s story, then stop by Goodenoughmother.com to learn more about these unbelievably inspiring women. Then make a promise to yourself; that you will educate yourself, be aware and informed and make time to take care of you. Your family needs you!
How did you first find out you had cancer?
After feeling something unusual on my breast one night as I was getting ready for bed, I performed a breast self exam and discovered a lump. I made an appointment with my primary care physician, which is when I learned I was pregnant. About a week later, after a breast ultrasound and biopsy, doctors confirmed that I had breast cancer.
How did you react when you heard the news?
I was shocked when I received the news of my diagnosis. Having no history of breast cancer in my family and at the young age of 30, it felt completely unreal that this could be happening to me.
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
In order to continue with my pregnancy, the recommended treatment plan was an immediate mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. I began chemo at nearly 20 weeks pregnant and completed seven rounds before going into early labor and delivering a beautiful, healthy baby girl named Serenity.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
I was astonished to learn that I could undergo chemotherapy while pregnant with relatively little effect on my unborn baby. I was also surprised at how much I was able to do and still wanted to do, even while receiving treatment. I was also overwhelmed by the number of amazing Team Roxy supporters I had.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Attitude is everything. Keep a positive perspective. Take it one day at a time. Seek support from other survivors. Believe in miracles. Never give up…and go kick cancer ass!
How long have you been cancer free?
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
Through my journey with breast cancer, I learned how strong I really am, how awesome life is, and how much I can impact others. I also found fellow survivors to be my biggest source of hope during my battle. As a result, I share my story and spread my message of hope as often as possible and lead a young breast cancer survivor network at my cancer center. I also raise funds for breast cancer awareness and programs and donate survivor bags to newly diagnosed women through my organization, Team Roxy.
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there what would it be?
Be your own health advocate. Don’t take your health or life for granted. Cherish it and your loved ones every day.
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Before the cancer diagnosis 1 of 16Roxanne Martinez was a healthy, 30-year-old who had just learned she was expecting a baby! photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
Left mastectomy: December, 2012 2 of 16
Recovering from first surgery 3 of 16And she still smiled.... photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
Chemo: January, 2011 4 of 16A month after her mastectomy, Roxanne began a grueling and aggressive series of chemotherapy treatments to try and save her life. photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
And then…. 5 of 16
Chemo, round 5 6 of 16Roxanne was slated to have 8 rounds of chemotherapy along with surgery. photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
Live. Laugh. Love 7 of 16
Run Roxy, RUN! 8 of 16Roxanne wouldn't let breast cancer keep her paralyzed in place. 3 days after a chemo treatment, 7months pregnant, Roxy ran the Fort Worth Komen Race For the Cure. photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
Serenity’s first party! 9 of 16A baby shower in her honor.. photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
Beautiful… 10 of 16
Baby Serenity arrives! 11 of 16Roxanne was supposed to have her 8th and final chemo treatment; instead she gave birth to a premature yet healthy baby girl. photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
Welcome Serenity Milagros! 12 of 16Born early, but healthy! photo credit: Team-Roxy.com
A true miracle! 13 of 16Serenity Milagros and her mother, the fighter. photo credit: Team Roxy
Build-A-Boob. 14 of 16
The sign says it all! 15 of 16Beating cancer for almost a year! photo credit: Team Roxy
Serenity Milagros 16 of 16Now a healthy, happy toddler. photo credit: Team Roxy
Yo! Nice to meet you! You can find out more about me on my blog, Good Enough Mother.
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