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 finishing 20 rounds of chemo and preparing for surgery…
I woke up that morning like I did every day. However, this time, I knew my life depended all on this particular day.
They had to get all the cancer out of my body. I had barely slept all night, and as I turned on the shower, emotions started to flow. I started crying and it just would not stop. I jumped into the shower to wash off with a special soap the hospital gave me. I could not control my fears. I sobbed as I scrubbed my body down. The one time when I finally fell apart and no one was watching. The tears kept coming and coming until I finally just stopped what I was doing and let the hot water flow over me.
This would be the only time during cancer I would ask God, “Why me? What are you trying to teach me? Am I going to lose my breast? Will you let me live and see my daughter grow up? How can I make a difference in this life, if you do?”
I – and so many others – had worked so hard for this day with prayers and positive vibes throughout this journey. Now it was all up to trusting once again in my doctors. I thought to myself that the next few hours would be the last hours of cancer. ‘I am going to beat it,’ I told myself. The past 8 months were behind me. I did it and now I had to do the hardest part and just let it all go. Put it in the hands of God and my medical team of surgeons.
As I stepped out of the shower and said another prayer, I felt a calming that I hadn’t felt before. Everything was to be ok. The ride to the hospital was one of the longest rides I had ever had, but I put on my gown, saw my doctors, and was ready. The anesthesiologist came in to introduce himself and we soon found out he was from a small town in Wisconsin near where I grew up. As we talked about farm country, he put the needle in me and I soon drifted off for my two-hour surgery.
When I opened my eyes, I was greeted by my family and a close friend. I asked right away if they were able to get the cancer and the answer was “yes” – plus they were able to save my breast! My pain was tolerable but soon the meds would make me sick, really sick. I stayed in the hospital for 2 days until they could get everything under control. When the doctor came to visit me on his rounds I said to him … ‘I find it funny how 20 rounds of chemo never made me throw up and one strong pain med can. Not to mention my tummy hurts from not being able to potty.’ With a big laugh he said, “I can see you are going to be just fine. You go home and heal and we’ll wait for your pathology results to come back in two weeks and give us the final answers. You did good, now we just wait….”
To view previous columns or to leave a message for Shay, please search ‘Shay’ at www.DesertHealthNews.com. For more information on triple negative breast cancer, visit www.tnbcfoundation.org.
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