Cancer is something very personal and very near and dear to the hearts of several of our girls here at Arayla. As a women-owned and run brand, we were particularly anxious to highlight breast cancer awareness month. In support of this and especially of all of the strong, beautiful warriors (and their loved ones) out there, we are honored to share the brave story of survivor M. May her inspirational account and uplifting expressions of advice touch your hearts as it so did ours. As told in her own words below.
Survivor M has a story that could be very inspirational especially during breast cancer awareness month when all of us women are standing strong together.
“On June 1, 2018, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma – stage 2 Breast Cancer. After 6 rounds and 5 months of chemotherapy and a total bilateral mastectomy, I am currently cancer-free.
I found my tumor through a self-exam, at age 42. My youngest son will forever tell the story of how he saved mommy’s life. My last mammogram was clear, no wisp of any issues. But in April of 2018, I found that whenever I hugged my son (his forehead would hit right at my breast) I felt a tenderness where his head hit my chest. It felt off. So I started doing weekly self-exams. In May 2018, I felt it. Unmistakably, a lump in my left breast.
I was diagnosed on June 1 and started chemotherapy on June 25. The rate of growth for my tumor was 95% – by all means a very aggressively-growing tumor and particularly nasty. Throughout my treatment, I shared on Instagram and Facebook my story, at first because I was getting tired of repeating my diagnosis to everyone in person and launching into 20 minutes of talking about it. But then, I found that sharing my story brought me so much healing and light. I drew my strength from the comments and likes. I had countless people lauding me for my strength, bravery, and being an inspiration. It kept me going.
But, I also realized something towards the end of my chemo treatments. Those on social media didn’t know the whole story, they only knew what I had posted. I didn’t post the times I was not strong and I didn’t post the times where I had complete meltdowns. I didn’t post the times where I sulked, I sobbed, I postulated about death – even calculating when it might be ok for my family and my sons to go on without me. There were times when I wanted to quit. There were times I just curled into a ball and cried and cried. But I didn’t post that.
So many times I was really, really scared. So many times I was really, really sad. I really really didn’t want to do this anymore and I was really really angry.
But there was always LIGHT. Somewhere, somehow, there was always LIGHT. Even if it was there just to cast my own shadow. To all those suffering through hard times – IT IS OK to go through this. You cannot be strong all the time. There will be a pain. But then there will be rising. I promise you. ❤️
I kept going. After 6 rounds of chemotherapy, I had a bilateral mastectomy. On November 19, I received the news, “no residual carcinoma” and “no suspicious axillary or internal mammary lymphadenopathy” No cancer. No spread of cancer.
I received that news almost a year ago. I’m back to work, back to a routine, back in the fold of being a busy full-time working mom of a high-schooler and a middle-schooler. Sometimes being a cancer patient feels like it was a lifetime ago. Sometimes it seems like it was yesterday. Survivorship isn’t easy, but it was never supposed to be. There were dark times this past year, but there was SO MUCH MORE LIGHT. I celebrate each milestone with everyone who leaned in and helped me take care of business. I thrive in the wake of all of this because of the strength of the family and community around me. Even in darkness, they showed me the LIGHT.”