Your stories make me want to share mine

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.

young woman affected by breast cancer, c4yw

Rita Marie and her boyfriend, Mike, during active chemo.

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 for more information.

4 thoughts on “Your stories make me want to share mine

  1. wish i felt like this !! 7 weeks ago i had my mastectomy just about to start chemo im healing realy well and my prognosis is very good …but emotionally im a mess ..i get so cross with myself for not coping

    • Hi Kim,
      My name is Jaime, I am 28 and also blog for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I have finally learned that we are allowed to be an emotional train wreck. Look what we are going through. It is not easy and every day seems like the end is never close enough. I had a bi-lateral masectomy dec, 8 rounds of chemo over 6 months and 28 radiation treatments which I am down to 5 more. My best suggestion is to let yourself cry for 10 mins if you need to each day by yourself or with someone and that is it. Don’t get sucked in to the deep whole that this could make you fall into. You are a warrrior and you have already accomplished your surgery and chemo for me was rough I don’t like to sugar coat things and during it you don’t think you can do it anymore but because of the ones around you you do it and you do it. I still struggle from day to day just know that it is normal and you are not alone. If you ever need to chat email me Best of luck and a great big hug!!!! 🙂

      Love, Jaime

  2. Dear Rita,

    Your story was so similar to mine but I am 51 years old. I have a daughter who will be 16 next year and I am worried for her. I carry the BRCA 1 gene. I hope that you had genetic testing done. I had everything you had starting with a lumpectomy and then 8 rounds of chemo (while I was starting chemo) I had genetic testing which should I carried the BRCA 1 gene. I also had onco DS testing on the tumor which showed it was a grade 3 and it had a very high rate of reoccurrance. I then decided to have my ovaries and tubes removed because carring the gene put me had a very high chance to get ovarian cancer and I then decided to have a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I had my double mastectomy and I too am a work in progress. I wish you all the happiness and I think you are so brave for your age. Be well and I wish you a life time of happiness.


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