From Bombshell to Eggshell
Full Name: Erika Silva
Type of Cancer: Triple positive breast cancer
From Bombshell to Eggshell
I was diagnosed January 25, 2018 at first I went into panic mode, as I got the call while at work, my whole world came crushing down on me, if I didn’t have people close to me that day to help me process everything I would have been screwed. All I could do was cry and worry about how I would provide for my child.
I slowly began to process things, I was diagnosed with stage 2B ER/PR/HER2 Positive Lobular Carcinoma in my right breast… I was having major panic attacks it was horrible and Everything seemed to be moving so fast, I had my port placement surgery Feb 16th and shortly after Feb 22nd I started first chemo. Even though I was scared I knew my daughter needs me so I have to fight with all I have. While out on chemo I was advised that I had lost my job things just seemed to keep getting more challenging everyday…It was then that I discovered genetic testing.
I was sent to meet with a specialist we drew some blood and few weeks later…BOOM comes back positive to PALB2 gene mutation, increasing my risks and chances of developing other cancers as well as I can pass it to my child, I was devastated.
First chemo hit me so hard I was very sick and ended up being hospitalized for 4 days with Colitis and other infections. Second chemo I was hospitalized with neutropenic fever by that time I was already bald as my hair was coming out in chunks. The third hospitalization I needed blood transfusion stayed in the hospital 3days, I kept thinking I still have 3 more and I wasn’t sure I could make it. I pushed really hard and finished all 6 rounds July 13th 2018. The combination of drugs I received were (Herceptin, Perjeta, Texatere and caboplatin) 6 rounds– however Herceptin I continued till I completed 17 rounds.
August 15 I had my double mastectomy with a delayed reconstruction. Took a while to recover, I had many physical therapy sessions as my mobility and range of motion on my arms and shoulders were very poor. I have developed Neuropathy from chemotherapy which is debilitating my movements and function on my right hand.
December 20th Hysterectomy, this surgery was done as preventative majors since I was tested positive with the PALB2 gene mutation in which increases my chances of developing other types of Cancer.
February 8th, 2019 by this point I am just wondering when is this going to be over… yet excited to start reconstructing by breasts…
The surgery went very well, the process is long and painful because the expanders are placed under your chest muscle and filled with saline each week in order to expand your skin so the actual silicone implant can be placed…planning for MAY 2019
THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
March 15th 2019 I finished my last Herceptin infusion, I felt relief, I started and finished all the infusions like a boss even when it got real dark. The wellbeing of my daughter motivated me every day to continue to fight. My faith kept me humble and my family, friends, doctors, nurses and even my pets! Kept me alive!
What could I tell someone just entering this journey?
“Well, don’t panic over your finances, somehow things just works out, staying alive for your family is far more important than anything in this world so focus on your treatment and on getting thru it faze by faze, because God is in control, things may change you forever but it will all work out in the end”
As weird as this may sound, this experience has changed me inside and out for the better, it has brought me much sadness for sure BUT also MUCH joy, it has given me a chance to get to know myself, to truly appreciate my life, I also had the pleasure to meet some amazing, selfless, beautiful people that will forever be a part of my life.
Today as I start to recover I can truly say that I have a lot to be thankful and grateful even though cancer tried to wipe me down God provided me the strength to keep going and today I feel stronger, more courageous and more humble.
*losing my hair and my breasts was definitely tough but it’s by far better than losing my life.