I guess you can say October is my month. I unfortunately get to honor both breast cancer awareness and still born and pregnancy loss.
I can't talk about my breast cancer without first talking about my IVF journey. I struggled with infertility but was lucky to finally get pregnant with my daughter, Olivia.
When my daughter turned 3, we decided we wanted to grow our family, after many consults and IVF procedures we were pregnant with another little girl. I can't begin to tell you how excited we all were – especially Olivia who was dreaming of having a baby sister.
My pregnancy was normal, no issues.
March 29th, 2017 at my 30-week normal routine checkup, we got the devastating news that there was no heartbeat. That was worst day of my life. I had to go home to get all my belongings and prepare to have a c-section. Noone can ever be prepared to deliver a child that is born “sleeping.”
Her name was Giorgiana. We both got to hold her – We spent some time with her and sang all the same songs we sang to Olivia. As hard as it was to wrap our heads around what was happening, we now had to explain to our 4-year-old that her sister was now an angel in heaven. Instead of planning her arrival home we were planning her funeral.
The next few months were a blur, I had no choice but to keep on going if only for my daughter. I had to show her we were all going to be ok, even though I had no idea how.
We didn’t realize it then, but Giorgiana saved my life. As I was planning my next IVF cycle, my fertility doctor forced me to get a mammogram. A few weeks later on October 12th – 7 months after losing my child – I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It felt like an outer body experience, I could not believe this was happening to me and my family. Even though it had spread to my lymph nodes, I was “lucky" we caught it early. If we would had waited any longer, it would have kept spreading.
I had a bilateral mastectomy, followed by 8 rounds of chemo and 28 rounds of radiation. During treatment I was offered cold capping therapy, which is an insanely freezing cap (-35 degrees) you put on your head for an hour before chemo starts and 5 hours after it ends, that saved about 50-60% of my hair.
I have met some amazing people through this journey that have shared their stories which helped me get through all that I have been through. I hope that sharing my story would do the same.