This entry was Rita Marie Pinto. Rita Marie was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25 but looks at the diagnosis as a blessing in disguise:
As I’ve been reading the blogs posted by fellow survivors over the past few months, I’ve felt compelled to share my story. You women have given me a sense of hope, strength, and sisterhood, and I wanted to return the favor.
When you’re 25 years old and diagnosed with breast cancer, you truly feel as though your world has just come to an end. I was at work when I received the phone call that changed my life. The radiologist said to me “Do you have a moment to discuss the results of your biopsy?” That’s when I knew something was seriously wrong. “We found malignancy” she said. I was in total and complete shock; I will never forget the feeling of my heart sinking to my feet. For the first few seconds, I cried without tears- if you’ve been there, you’ll know what I’m referring to. Then the waterworks came; I cried hysterically for about an hour. The worst part about being diagnosed is the unknown. What happens next?! Where do I go from here?! To say that this is scary is beyond an understatement.
That being said, here I am 8 months later- thankful, blessed, happy, cancer-free, and healing! I want you know that you WILL heal. You will get better, you will feel better, and you WILL get through this. As with any journey, it comes with its struggles: bad days and times where you’re going to want to throw a hairbrush at a mirror and scream to the top of your lungs…literally. And one day 8 months from now, you’ll be in my shoes with a grin on your face knowing that the worst is over and the best is yet to come, You’ll say to yourself, “Been there, done that!” I am still a work in progress, but I’ve come so far from where I started.
Over the past 8 months, I’ve had a battery of tests, a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, 6 rounds of chemo spanning over 18 weeks, port placement and removal, countless doctors’ appointments, and I’m currently scheduled to have permanent implants placed on September 19. No, it has not been easy by any means, but it is doable. I’ve been surrounded by amazing family, friends, my boyfriend, co-workers, and all of the wonderful medical professionals taking care of me. They’ve made me laugh when I wanted to cry, and cried with me when I couldn’t hold it in. They’ve listened to my every complaint, and they’ve rejoiced with me when things got better. I will never forget what they have done for me.
Breast cancer came to me as blessing in disguise. Yes, a blessing in disguise. I’ve accomplished SO much since my diagnosis (I’ll share this with you at a later time) and each day I heal a little more. My hair is now growing back, I’m eating healthy and working out 3-5 times per week, I just started my dream job this month, and I feel wonderful! I am empowered. I’ve chosen to NOT let breast cancer be my “elephant in the room.” I’ve decided that it is my secret weapon. I beat breast cancer…There is nothing that I can’t accomplish or overcome! I am healing. I believe through writing for LBBC’s blog, I will continue to heal with you as we share our experiences and encouragement. As the famous song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Byrds explains, there is a time for everything, and now is my time to heal.
Rita Marie is just one of many women who has been diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. If you were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45, you may be interested in attending the Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer. Visit www.C4YW.org for more information.