“Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it” –C. Assad
Rach DiMare was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016. She is now NED. She is a Fashion Blogger, Beauty counter Consultant & a Cancer Aid Ambassador.
“I was diagnosed in January 2016. I noticed something was wrong during my honeymoon. I’ve always had a lump in my right breast but it was always declared as nothing since I have no family history of breast cancer. However, I noticed that my lump felt larger than usual. I wasn’t sure if it was always that size or if it grew. I was perplexed because, to be honest, I rarely gave myself a breast exam. I went to see my doctor after my honeymoon and she immediately noticed the size of the lump.
She mentioned that it would most likely be fibroadenoma since most women my age start to develop it (I was 27 at that time). But she wanted to be sure and schedule a breast ultrasound. The breast ultrasound led to a mammogram, which eventually led to a biopsy. A couple of days after my biopsy, the pathology report confirmed that I had 4 malignant tumors in my right breast. It also confirmed that I had triple positive, invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.”
“After hearing my doctor confirm that I had cancer, they also mentioned to me that since I am newly married (we were only 6 months into our marriage at this point), they wanted to warn me that all the cancer treatments may harm my future family planning and that I may want to consider fertility preservation.
I was hesitant at first because hormones were one of the receptors that were feeding my cancer and going through the fertility perseveration process meant adding more hormones to my body. Fortunately, my oncologist was supportive of whatever decision I made and she reassured me that she was prepared to handle whatever may come up.
I didn’t want cancer to ruin my future, so I went ahead with fertility preservation. It wasn’t pleasant but at least we were able to freeze 8 embryos. Soon after, I did 6 rounds of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and Zoladex shots every 3 months. Chemo was definitely tough on me mentally and physically. The side effects were awful, constant low energy and I noticed I changed physically. After 6 rounds of chemotherapy, I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
After surgery, I got started on aromatase inhibitors and completed 17 rounds of Herceptin. After Herceptin, my medical team decided that I should be on Zometa. So every 6 months I go in to get Zometa infusions. Zometa every 6 months, Zoladex shots every 3 months, and aromatase inhibitors daily is my current treatment plan.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“I had a lot of motivations to fight. First was my life. Being diagnosed at the age of 27, I knew there was still so much I had yet to see and experience in this world. I wanted to continue this path of marriage with my husband and build a life and family together. I also wanted to be there for my family.”
“There were a lot of challenges. One is accepting the fact that I have cancer and knowing that cancer is a life-threatening disease. At the same time, I have to manage my side effects. Some days they were so awful. It was also hard to accept the changes it had caused me mentally and physically.
I felt as if my body was stripped away from me and I didn’t recognize who I was anymore. And the one that I didn’t expect at all was how challenging life would be after chemo. No one ever warns you about the difficulties of cancer survivorship. I can’t relate to anyone, and no one seems to understand what I was/am going through; all of this while still having the fear of reoccurrence in the back of my head. I can no longer treat any symptom that my body is experiencing as same. Everything always seems to relate back to cancer.”
Message to other cancer patients
“That life will always throw challenges at you, but we can always rise above it and make the most out of it. Even though the darkest and most tragic times, there is always a silver lining. I hate the fact that I was diagnosed with cancer, but through it all, there were many blessings and I would have never encountered these blessings if it weren’t for cancer.”