I told myself a lot of things. I had known there was a lump in my right breast for a couple years, but I didn’t think much of it. I thought that before I get checked
out, I must finish school to make enough money to send my son to college.

At the time I felt the lump, it was just me and my son living towns away from my family. So, I pushed to the side going to
the doctors. It was not about me. I have always put the needs of my son before mine. I have also put the needs of my family before my own. But here I was in
my gynecologist’s office, getting my annual physical. She of course discovered the lump in my right breast. I know now I was in denial or the fear of
hearing the word “cancer.”

My doctor referred me to Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale for a mammogram around February 2020. I put it off twice and rescheduled the appointment
because at the time, going to work was more important to me. At least that’s what I told myself. Then the Yale Breast
Cancer Center called and convinced me to come in for the mammogram. I remember that day. I do not know if I
was angry, in denial, or simply scared.

Once they completed the mammogram, they wanted to do an ultrasound so they could get a more in-depth image of the
tumor in my breast. The doctor came in and said that they also wanted to do a biopsy. I refused it for that day and asked to come back another time. This was March 2020. They told me I must come back before the end of the week.

I went back on Friday so they could take a biopsy of the tumor. I remember being so scared. I began to cry because I already knew what the result
would be. The nurse with me held my hand, and it was then that I felt like I would not be fighting this battle alone. I was still more than terrified of what was
to come. All I know is that I had to get through this no matter what and that I was not going to give up at all.

On April 3, 2020, I received the call confirming my worst fears. The biopsy was positive for breast cancer. I remember because I was talking with
my sister, who had recently put her husband to rest. I was only 33 years old and would turn 34 on April 29. A lot was going on in my life.

When I met with my medical oncologist, my only concern was what the plan was to get rid of this awful disease. All I knew was that I had to fight this. I was
not going to allow this cancer to get the best of me in any way. I knew without a doubt that it was not going to stop me from accomplishing everything I
wanted to do in life. My son needed me, my family needed me, and most of all I needed me. So, with all the strength I had, I made sure that I
attended every appointment so that I could move on with my life.

After 16 chemo treatments, multiple hospital stays, 25 radiation treatments, and a mastectomy in November 2020, I am still here! I see this as taking
time to realize what I want from life.

From this experience, I tell everyone, no matter what is happening in their lives, never give up! See yourself through it and know that everything will
be okay.