From the moment I got diagnosed one of the things I knew I wanted to do was to share my story with as many people as possible. Why? Because I don't want anyone to ever have to hear those 3 words YOU HAVE CANCER.
The 3 most terrifying words I have ever heard, words that changed my life and the life of my amazing family and friends. Words that shake you to the core, that make you reevaluate everything about your life. Words that truly make you believe you are going to die. Words that all of a sudden make you appreciate all the little things you take for granted. And 3 words that actually were a blessing in disguise.
When you are young you are planning your next career move, your next vacation, where you will go for dinner, what shoes you are going to buy, how many kids you want to have, where you will get married! When you are young you are thinking about planning your life.. not your death! That’s what happened to me only 3 years ago. On August 16th 2017 I was at home watching TV with my boyfriend when I found a lump on my right breast, I freaked out when my boyfriend felt it too. I immediately texted my gynecologist (yes, my doctor is very cool and attainable at all hours) who asked to see me the next morning. I showed up at 8am to his office where he felt it as well. He sent me to get an ultrasound and mammogram immediately. By noon I had already done a mammogram and ultrasound. During the ultrasound when the nurse excused herself and returned with the doctor I knew something was wrong.
The doctor told me “we in fact found a mass in your breast and would like to do a biopsy” I asked them to do it right away to get it over with. Still thinking it was nothing I asked her “it could be a cyst right?” I never in my wildest dreams expected to hear her response “its not a cyst, its a tumor and in my experience I’m pretty sure its cancer”. I didn’t wake up that day thinking I would have cancer! What was happening? They sent me home after the biopsy and asked me to wait for the results. It was the longest 24 hours of my entire life! The next morning, august 18th, 2017 at 11:03am I got the call from my gynecologist with the results “hey Clara, I have bad news. Results came back and its cancer. You have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma”. I remember grabbing my computer and googling it right away.
He explained everything as best as he could but everything after the word cancer is a blur, all I could think about was how was I going to tell my family, my boyfriend, my friends. It was the toughest thing I have ever had to do. I felt as if I had let them all down by getting sick. As if it was my fault. I gave myself 4 hours to cry. In which I did. I cried. A lot. I kept repeating I have Cancer… I have fu*%#ing cancer!! Only hours after being diagnosed I already had my first appointment at Miami Cancer Institute. By the afternoon with the help of my friends I started to plan my fight!
What a fight it was! When you get cancer everyone around you gets cancer. From day one our team motto was #wegotthis not once did I feel alone. On my first appointment I had a pose of family and friends with me. In fact I never went to the hospital alone. I was known to walk around with my support squad. Im eternally grateful for every single one of them.
Before I got sick I had a pretty decent following on instagram, you see in my job I get to work with the hottest artists. Seeing that I had my surgery on September 28th and on October 1st being breast cancer awareness month I knew it wasn’t a coincidence, I felt I had to share my story! So on October 1st I decided to make my journey public, very public! I shared every part of the process, from my surgeries, my fertility preservation process, my burnt breast from radiation, my fears, my frustrations, my pains little did I know that as I tried to help others I helped myself. The support that I got from random strangers from all over the world sending me prayers, good vibes truly were lifesaving. I didn’t quite understand the power of social media until now.
Through this experience and without planning it I have become a voice for the Hispanic community about breast cancer awareness. I realized that we don’t talk about the #1 cause of death in Hispanic women enough. Trying to change this I created the campaign #Tetocatocarte where monthly we start a conversation on social media about breast cancer awareness by posting a selfie with my hand over my breast and tagging my very famous gal pals and they in turn do the same and we remind women every month to check themselves!
Cancer has been the most horrible experience of my life yet it has been the biggest blessing! Thank you breast cancer for teaching me that the word CAN is hidden in Cancer. I CAN survive, I CAN find my voice, I CAN fight for my life, I CAN find my purpose! If you are in the midst of it don’t forget that you CAN, cancer isn’t always a death sentence! You are strong! You are a warrior and #WEGOTTHIS !!