39-year-old Shay Moraga was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at the beginning of 2016 and has been sharing her journey with Desert Health® readers in an ongoing column. When we left Shay, she was having surgery to have her tumor removed (after 20 rounds of chemo) and waiting for final test results…
The year was 1989. I was 13 years old in the 8th grade and into boy bands like New Kids on the Block. While attending my church’s youth group one night, I would meet my best friend Kristina. Even though we have about 3,000 miles between us now, she is still my best friend of 27 years. I will never forget the day I called to tell her I had breast cancer. She was cool calm and collective. Little did I know she had another close friend with whom she had been through all of this. She knew the questions to ask and she knew how to keep me calm. She said she would be right by my side when I was ready. Well, that time had come and she booked her flight out about a week after I was done with my surgery. She flew in from Wisconsin and we picked up right where we had left off.
We got back to my house and went over the weekly schedule. Doctor appointments, a port flush and, last but not least, the day I was to see my surgeon and get the final results of the pathology. I felt like it was in a scene from the movie Beaches with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. Only, I didn’t want to be the one to die. God, it was so good to have family with me. We watched movies, cooked dinner, went out to dinner, talked long hours and laughed a lot. She never let me talk about a “what if?” scenario. Only that I was going to be OK.
We went to bed and in the morning, got ready for the big day. The next day came sooner than expected or so it seemed. We got in the car and made our way down Country Club Drive to the hospital. It was most certainly the longest drive I had ever had. Everything was in slow motion. The doctor’s office was already filling up. My stomach was starting to do somersaults. We sat down and waited for them to call my name. 45 minutes later they did…
We slowly walked down the hall. I saw my doc and he was shaking his head looking at the piece of paper. I thought to myself, “Oh, God, this can’t be good news.” I looked into his eyes and said, “Is this for me?” He said, yes, and was dead silent. I looked at his assistant and said, “You have to tell me – What? What?” He said, “It is gone. I can’t believe it, but there is no cancer detectable at all.”
Kristina grabbed my hand and gave me a big hug. “Really? It is for sure gone, Doc?” He said, “Yes, it is gone.” I gave him a big hug as I cried my eyes out. He and his assistant shed some tears, too.
It was the first time in almost 9 months that I would be able to sleep that night, and I slept really well. We still had a lot of questions to ask and follow-up appointments to do, but for now, I was free. Free of Cancer.
To this day, it will be one of the most emotional – and best – days of my life.
To view previous columns or to leave a message for Shay, please search ‘Shay’. For more information on triple negative breast cancer, visit www.tnbcfoundation.org.