I met Lorena on Instagram, we’ve followed one another along our journeys as the timing of our treatments was very similar. She’s a beautiful woman inside & out & I’m so honored to share her story today.
Lorena lives with her husband in beautiful Mexico City, Mexico. She’s an inspiration to me & to so many, I love her Instagram bio phrase which reads, “As a cancer survivor I’ve learned that it’s so much easier to be happy! I’m here to try to give hope to other breast cancer fighter gals!” A statement that surely resonates with me.
Last year at the age of 29 & roughly three years into their marriage, Lore & her husband had recently decided it would be an ideal time to expand their family & started to make plans to do so. Little did they know life had other plans for them in 2016…
Lore’s initial concern came when she awoke to an itching pain in her right breast & when she touched it, she suddenly noticed a large lump. At first Lorena was misdiagnosed & told she was too young to have breast cancer. She believed her physician despite feeling in her heart of hearts that something was seriously wrong. A year went by & she decided to seek a second opinion. She had to be her own advocate & when she found someone who would listen, she opted to forgo the mammogram & go straight for the ultrasound. Lore wanted answers. Following the ultrasound, her doctor thought the lump should be biopsied & the best method for that, would be to remove the lump completely. Just seven days later the tumor was removed.
Lore awoke from surgery to learn from her husband, to her surprise, they had removed half of her breast. The tumor had been taken to pathology & she would soon receive the answers she’d been so desperately been seeking. Just three days later she received a call to come & meet with the doctor as soon as possible. She wasn’t able to drive yet following the surgical procedure, so her mom brought her to the office. Since she really wasn’t expecting any kind of news she hadn’t asked her husband to attend, he was at class & she didn’t want to bother him for no reason.
Lore was alone in the office with her doctor when he told her she had stage three carcinoma. She was shocked & doesn’t remember much from the initial time of her diagnosis, it was an emotional blur. Her doctor asked her to get her mother, she remembers opening the door & telling her mother she had cancer. Her mom stood, hugged her, joined them in the office & had the presence of mind to write everything down. She doesn’t remember how she got home that day. But when she did, her husband & her father were there waiting. Together they discussed what needed to be done to save her life.
She went on to have a mastectomy in January & followed with chemo, March through September. She’s now taking Tamoxifen as hormone therapy..
Her family provided the support she needed to get through. A husband who Lore says is her all, her rock & her strength. Both having come out of very difficult relationships, he was a very dear friend & eventually they fell in love. They were on a constant honeymoon until cancer disrupted their lives. Upon her diagnosis he reassured her that she was not alone in her battle & promised to be there to hold her hand every step of the way. Her father retired just three months after Lore’s diagnosis to be near her whenever she needed. Her sister made the 12 hour flight from Madrid to take care of Lore following her mastectomy.
Lore’s friends were there for her as well. Following her mastectomy, she returned to a room filled with flowers from her family & friends. Through many friends, she received thoughtful & inspiring gifts. Among these, a spa gift certificate for her & her husband, a book about Buddhist wisdom to overcome tragedies called When Things Fall Apart, frozen soup on the doorstep from a neighbor & a chemo basket form her best friend on her first day of chemo.
Lorena also found strength in positivity. It helped her to feel better, believing there was a light at the end of the tunnel & helped her to stay calm which in turn calmed her loved ones supporting her. Her sisters & parents felt positive as well, to see Lore maintain her strength & determination through treatment. While challenging, Lore still put on her makeup; she was bald but feminine, sad but still cracking jokes, sick but still making plans for the future.
Lore had a PET scan in October of last year confirming her remission. She’s happy to say that her & her husband, are now on their second honeymoon phase. Since her journey with cancer, she has become a more relaxed & more positive person. She’s happier & says it’s just easier to be happy! Taking it one day at a time, one step at a time realizing every morning that she’s truly blessed & most importantly she’s stopped taking her life for granted.
As many of us can relate, remission is unfortunately not a worry free time… As Lore began the reconstruction phase of her process, her plastic surgeon suggested an MRI, following surgery there would be some obvious changes & it’s always best to have an initial image to compare to later. She proceeded with the MRI, which she describes as the longest, most painful MRI of her life… Since the tissue expander includes a small magnet, the imaging took significantly longer & there was some pain following.
Three days later she picked up the results & headed home, only to find the image showed a new cyst in her healthy breast! All plans for reconstruction were put on hold & a needle aspiration biopsy was performed. Thankfully the biopsy came back negative for cancer & Lore was able to move forward with reconstruction in February. However, that cyst may decide to change at any point & become cancerous. They will be keeping a very close eye on it, following up an ultrasound every three months to confirm there’s no growth.
Lore remains positive about what her future holds & is happy to be in remission still. She’s a true inspiration & wonderful friend to me!