Nina’s Breast Cancer Battle
Nobody wants to ever be told that the lump they found is cancer. On June 7th, 2016 Nina heard the words, “I’m sorry, but the lump is cancer.” She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ductal Carcinoma and Invasive Carcinoma with HER2 Positive Breast Cancer. She now has metastatic Stage 4 HER2 Positive Breast Cancer.
When Nina first received her diagnosis, she told us that she felt devastated and scared.
“I immediately shifted to thinking about the fact that I have a six year old who needs his mother. I found out the day my son graduated from Kindergarten and I had to sit through lunch without telling him. I was in complete shock. Honestly, when you get the diagnosis, you don’t have time to think about anything but the immediate things you have to think about.”
With all the other things that she needs to worry about, the greatest hardship for her during this battle has been thinking about how to explain all of this to her young son. While having to worry about her family, she also had so many things to consider financially. Medical expenses and daily living expenses can rack up very quickly. There are drives to the hospital that need to be paid for, medical treatments, different foods, and more.
“The biggest hardship was telling my son that I have cancer that is never going away. He is only six, so trying to find the words that he would understand, and not scare him, was difficult. Another huge hardship is the financial burden of fighting for your life. There are so many financial considerations. Will we be able to afford the $5,000.00 insurance deductible? Will I be able to afford to pay for my son’s school tuition, or will he have to adjust to a different school? Will we have to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills?“
While this battle has already proved to be difficult, Nina still does find comfort when reading about others who have gone through something similar and came out on top.
“The greatest comfort I get is reading stories of women who were diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and are still alive. I recently read a story about a woman who was diagnosed and the cancer was also in her bones; her diagnosis was more than 25 years ago.”
Every day she says to herself, “Today I woke up and it is going to be a good day.” This keeps her inspired even during the tough days because no matter what, she’s alive. She makes the choice to make the most of it every day. Her community of support and her family stand by her side as she goes through her journey.
If she could say one thing to people going through a similar battle to help brighten their day, she would tell them, “Not everyone’s cancer is the same, and your journey is unique. I would tell them to remove the word cancer out of your vocabulary and just live your life for today. I refer to my cancer as my diagnosis and try not to use the word in my daily life. I would tell people to remain as positive as possible and see how it changes your outlook.”
Nina says, “The best thing someone has done for me [since the diagnosis] is create this Give Forward page.” With GiveForward, Nina has been able to raise almost $20,000. While some days are harder than others, she stays humbled by everyone’s generosity and support.