Hi my name is Zenaida Collazo. I am 41 years old and I am a breast cancer survivor.
At the age of 40 I felt a lump in my left breast that was not there the monthbefore. I thought maybe it was just fluid since when I expressed my concern to a friend, she said to me, “If it hurts then its nothing to worry about.” I decided to wait for my next cycle but to my surprise, instead of going away, it began to rapidly grow. I called my doctor who sent me for a mammogram; then after a biopsy they told me it was positive for cancer.
In April of 2011, I went for my first surgery which was to have a lumpectomy, only to then discover that instead of one lump there were two! One was 2.5 cm and the other was 2.6 cm. There were invasive or infiltrating cells that had spread to my lymphatic system. Twenty-four lymph nodes were removed and five were positive. That put me as having stage 3 breast cancer.
When I went back to my doctor’s office to get the report, she told me that I had to go for a second surgery because they had discovered some margins that were contaminated. That was the beginning of a long and painful healing process.
What can I say? It was a very scary experience. All I could think of was my husband and our five beautiful childrenand I knew that whatever happened, I was going to fight this. I went through four months of chemotherapy, sevenweeks of radiation therapy and am now on Tamoxifen for five years.
I thank God for my family who became my support system, my church, Christian Community Restoration tothe Nations (CCRN) and my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, without whose strength I don’t think I could havemade it.
My goal is to share my story and encourage others that there is life after cancer.