2020 was a powerful reminder that we are all in this together, that our choices and actions have the power to protect us in a big way. October is known nationwide as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. The reality still remains that every passing day a woman out there has to deal with this and has the burden to suffer in silence. Join me in this Q&A as I share the story of one of the strongest women I know Lorenza Annino in the cause to help women to celebrate women journeys of strength and resilience.
When was the day you found out that you were diagnosed with breast cancer?
February 2014, in the checks I usually did, I was told that there was something suspicious, a simple crack in the areola and nipple. I thought it was nothing that serious, it looked like a dermatitis. My Radiologist told me that he suspected it was Paget’s disease, a rare form of carcinoma, with appearance similar to a psoriatic plaque or unilateral eczema of the nipple and areola. It derives from an epidermal extension of an underlying ductal breast cancer.
I was then advised to go to a Dermatologist. After 1 month of treatment with antibiotics and local creams and no results, I was asked to do a Biopsy which revealed what was diagnosed by the Radiologist, no one could see anything in both mammography and breast ultrasound. For this, I will never stop thanking him for his scrupulous attention to detail.
What was your immediate reaction to the news?
I felt the world collapse on me. The surgeon reassured me saying that it was an early stage tumor. I told myself that I could not allow this evil to destroy me but instead restore the serenity of my family.
How did it affect your life at that time?
I could not stand to think that my children and my husband had to see me psychologically on the ground. This would make me feel even more sick.I faced with my head held high everything that presented itself without being depressed.
Walk us through your process.
The process began with the first operation, quadrantectomy and followed by Radiotherapy.
In the following years I did the checks that were required of me but three years later in May 2017, the Tumor reappered in a more aggressive form. I was immediately told that it was necessary to proceed with a mastectomysurgery, 12cycles of Chemotherapy, hormonal therapy for the next 5 years. I do not know if I was so brave or so simply numb as I went to do chemo always with asmile on my lips. I kept thinking that despite everything I had to feel lucky. Others like me could not cure themselves so it pushed me even harder to win this battle. I had my moments of discouragement and worry. If I didn’t, I would not be human. I always pulled myself up though.
How did it affect the life of those around you?
They were all very supportive. The biggest support in all of this was my husband. His presence, his closeness, his being always there and not needing to say anything because he already understood what I needed. The love of my children and my siblings who never left me alone.
What advice would you give to a woman going through the same experience?
The advice I would give is to never give up, always look forward and be positive. Crying leads to nothing. An important thing is prevention, because if today I am here to tell you about my experience, it is thanks to prevention. Prevention does not make you sick, but allows you to discover the disease in time and be able to fight it.
How has your life changed since then?
Today three years later I think that my life is better. I feel enriched because what I have suffered and passed has made me more humble. I take nothing for granted, I think that every day we live is a gift that the good God gives us, and we must be grateful for it.
Your Life motto.
My motto in life is always to see the glass half full and never half empty.
Thank you for reading through . Please Share with us your stories in the comment section below, let us all celebrate each other . After this is what beauty is about.