metastatic breast cancer pregnancy

Stories By Wildfire: Why I’m Truly Happy

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my third trimester of pregnancy. The lump in my breast that I had been complaining about and brought to the attention of my OB/GYN, was dismissed as a clogged milk duct. Because of my young age of 31, my symptoms weren’t taken too seriously. I went along with my doctor’s systematic care routine while the lump was getting noticeable bigger. I then demanded additional attention and a mammogram was performed, with special attention taken to protect my unborn child. At that point, I was already dealing with a 5×5 cm mass in my left breast.

Although I have been living with metastatic breast cancer for almost 18 years, I am still faced with certain pitfalls that a diagnosis like this can have on someone. My body literally aches every day of my life, from the moment that these toxins started invading my body, to now almost 21 years later of being on some type of treatments.

Some people really do not understand why I am so happy after all that I have gone through with this diagnosis. I am truly happy because I am here now; I have life this moment and I am going to squeeze all that I can out of it, every moment that I can. I most especially love experiencing the joys of life with my daughters, who have lived their entire lives through my diagnosis.

Terlisa Sheppard, Accountant, disabled retired Dept. of Defense, Orlando, FL. IDC, diagnosed at 31, Stage IIIA, ER+, HER2+, then at 34, Stage IV. Most recently, Terlisa was diagnosed with brain metastasis in 2003.

This piece has been republished with permission from WILDFIRE Magazine, the 2019 “MBC: YOUNG & STAGE IV” issue (Vol 4, No 5, Copyright (c) October 2019 by Wildfire Community LLC). More information available at  

Every month, Rethink will be sharing powerful stories and poetry from WILDFIRE Magazine. Use code RETHINK for 10% off anything in the WILDFIRE Shop.

WILDFIRE Magazine is the only magazine for young women survivors and fighters of breast cancer under 45 years old. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, WILDFIRE is a beautiful, story-based bi-monthly magazine published on different themes relevant to young women survivors, from stage 0 to stage IV. Beautiful and ad-free! Visit for more info.

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