Name: Myra Camino
Occupation: Client Advancement Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 37
Breast cancer type: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, ER+/PR+, Her2-
Breast cancer stage: Stage 4
Treatment: Chemotherapy, Double Mastectomy, Radiation. Now, I take Ibrance (a chemo pill) and Letrozole (hormone therapy) every day. I also have a Zoladex injection every month to shut down my ovaries and Xgeva injection every month for my bones.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer:
I love turtles and my first job was as an HIV/AIDS Educator when I was 12 years old.
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?
Not sure. I love all kinds of music, but lately I have been listening to a lot of Christian music.
How did you discover your breast cancer?
I had stopped breastfeeding my youngest son and felt a lump on my right breast in November 2015. I thought it was a clogged duct. I told my Gynecologist but wasn’t examined and was told to wait six months until my milk dried up to then get a mammogram. I waited and I never stopped producing milk. The lump grew and I finally went to get a mammogram in August of 2016. That quickly turned into a biopsy and a breast cancer diagnosis.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?
When I was first diagnosed, I was angry. I felt like I should have advocated for myself more and shouldn’t have waited. I wanted to yell at my Gynecologist.
Who is your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?
I was blessed with a great support group. My husband has been amazing. My Mom came every week to help me with my boys. My coworkers were also very supportive. I had chemo dates that went with me every week and made chemo bearable.
What is the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?
I fight everyday for my boys, who are now four and seven years old. The most difficult part is not knowing if I will be around to see them grow up. I thought losing my breast was going to be hard, but honestly it’s the thought of not seeing my boys graduate from high school or not being able to enjoy my grandchildren one day. It is the little things that people take for granted that I am looking forward to experiencing.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?
That I look good bald. I have had long hair my entire life. Having short hair now is a new experience for me. But honestly, I learned how strong and determined I am. I have always known I was feisty, but this battle with breast cancer proved it. I have also learned about people. I have lost friends through this journey, but I have also gained an army of women who support me and understand my day to day struggles.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?
There is no right or wrong way to handle this diagnosis. Everyone is different and you have to find what coping techniques work for you. For me it was being positive and starting a blog so that I could share my story. Being honest about what I was going through helped me throughout the whole process. It helped me put things into perspective and to heal. Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings are not valid. You are allowed to mourn your body, your hair and all the things cancer will steal from you. But don’t let cancer steal your joy.