My cancer won’t defeat me. I’m going to stay strong for my children.”
Your Mother’s Day Gift Supports Women In Need
Mother’s Day is about giving meaningful gifts to recognize the women who have been there for us — whether it be our moms, aunts, sisters, or friends. By making a donation in their name to help other women in need, you can make Mother’s Day about passing gifts on to those who need it most.
Your gift supports Bay Area Cancer Connections’ Gabriella Patser Program, which provides free breast cancer screening and diagnostic services for at-risk women under 40 who are uninsured. The program is designed as a safety net to help those who otherwise would not have access to care. Thank you for supporting this critical program! Your thoughtful Mother’s Day gift is truly making a difference.
Meet Veronica, 38, and Mother of Three
I felt a mass in my breast and it was painful, but the clinic said it was okay and nothing was wrong. They kept sending me home, but I was really worried. I work hard to take care of my boys, but I just couldn’t afford the expensive tests I needed. The pain was getting worse so I went back, and the clinic referred me to the Gabriella Patser Program to help pay for the tests. When I finally got my ultrasound and mammogram, they revealed that I had two lumps. And that same week I was diagnosed with breast cancer—it was my youngest son’s birthday.
I cried. But I told myself that I could not be depressed. I can’t be sad. This won’t defeat me. I’m going to stay strong for my children.
My treatment didn’t start right away and I was getting worried that the cancer was spreading to other parts of my body. Donaji called me to check-in and asked how my appointments were going, and I told her I hadn’t started treatment yet. Donaji was so supportive and reassured me that she was going to help me see a doctor right away. She was able to get me an appointment that same day! From there, everything happened in less than a week. I met with my oncologist on Thursday, the surgeon on Friday and Monday, and started chemo on Tuesday. If Bay Area Cancer Connections hadn’t stepped in to help setup these doctor appointments, I think my treatment would have been further delayed. I finally felt like I was going to be taken care of.
My first four chemos were strongest and I was very tired and sick. My whole body ached. I had to stop working full time and I didn’t feel helpful, which made my partner stressed. I’ve always been very energetic and enjoy taking Zumba so it was hard for him to see me in bed. Sometimes I feel depressed after chemo, but my kids give me energy.
At first, my boys didn’t believe me when I told them I had cancer, because I was smiling and still had my hair—I looked healthy. I think it was hard for them to understand. My kids have been very supportive though, helping me cook and clean, and getting themselves ready for school.
I stay strong for my family and they get me through the bad days. And I have a wedding to look forward to! After many years together my partner and I are getting married. I wanted a small wedding, but my friends are all stepping up to help with the plans, offering their home for the reception, others doing the tables and the music. My co-workers at McDonalds even collected money to help me out. God has sent me a lot of angels.
My advice to other women is to not take no for an answer. Ask for a mammogram if you’re young and have a lump. I’m outspoken and tell people about my experience. I tell them to check their breasts and to note any changes. Anyone can get cancer.
Translated from Spanish to English by Donaji Olivares.