This PINK Month, we've lost to many from Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Young women, with young families. Two of these woman have hit me especially hard. Both women, have young daughters.
The first friend that passed this month from Triple Negative Breast Cancer is Meg Sager. Meg was 33 years young at diagnosis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer and 4 months pregnant. Meg went through a radical Mastectomy, 6 rounds of chemo. Meg had baby Cora on Mar. 1, 2014 in between rounds of chemo. After chemo, she did 25 days of radiation until Jun. 30, 2014. After a negative bone scan, two negative liver biopsies, and a negative PET scan it looked like the cancer was beat in May, and radiation was just to make sure. September 5th 2014 Meg got the call from the Doctors office that her cancer had indeed returned. Her oncologist said that people in her circumstance usually have between two and three years to live. Her oncologist prescribed an oral chemo to try to slow the progression of the breast cancer in the liver. But Meg would not get the 2-3 years as hoped for by the doctors.
Meg passed away on Oct. 6, 2014. After her re-diagnosis things deteriorated very quickly. Meg's husband Sam explains. "We had three trips to the ER in 4 weeks. One for severe abdominal pain. One for a slight fever and infection which turned into a five day hospital stay. And the last one in the early morning on Oct. 6th. I had to call 911 because she was having trouble breathing. She was rushed to the hospital. As soon as my parents arrived at our house to take care of the girls, I rushed to the hospital myself. Meg was unconscious and on a ventilator when I arrived. She never woke up. Her body slowly began to shut down, and she died later that afternoon. It was an infection that she could not handle in her immunocompromised state." Meg left behind a best friend and husband along with their precious daughters Ellie 4 years old and Cora, 7 months old, along with countless others who loved Meg.
I asked Sam how Ellie was doing, how she is coping. In part so that everyone reading could have a 'window' into the heartache that the young ones that loose their Momma's feel, also selfishly because I wonder because I have young ones Meg's children's age. This is what Sam wrote...
"Ellie is doing the best she can. The hardest thing I've ever done is come home from the hospital sit down with our daughter and explain to her that Mommy can't come home because she died. It was things like this that Meg and would work together to figure out. The first week after Meg passed Ellie would ask in a very sad voice, "When's Mommy coming home?"
It breaks my heart to even think about it. Then I would tell her what happened again. Mommy was really sick. So sick that she had to go to the hospital. And the doctors worked really hard to try to make Mommy better and healthy again, but kept getting sicker. Mommy tried really hard but her body couldn't take it anymore and she died. Mommy loved us so much, and we love Mommy so much that Mommy is in our hearts now. And whenever we get sad or when we miss Mommy all we have to is close our eyes really tight and remember all of the good things we love about Mommy. Then we take turns telling each other something we loved about Mommy or something we loved doing with her.
After that first week Ellie stopped asking when Meg was going to come home. Now she says, "I miss Mommy." Then we go through all the things we remember. Ellie asks me regularly, especially when we snuggle at bedtime, to tell her the whole story. And I do just that. She is starting to get it, and I know she misses Meg so much."
Meg touched the lives of so many people. She brought out the best in people, especially me. She had an unwavering desire to help other people in all things she did. And she loved her family and friends unconditionally.
If you would like to read about the precious Sager family and Meg's journey, they beautifully documented it here.
My second friend, just passed Oct 26th 2014. Christina Newman was 40 years young. She leaves behind a beautiful baby girl and her adult daughter along with a heart broken husband, Ernesto. Her passing has happened to quickly for me to get speak with Ernesto in detail, as beautiful Christina Newman still has not been laid to rest. She fought with such courage, grace and strength to the very end. She fought Triple Negative Breast Cancer with every ounce of courage she could, never giving up, being a constant encouragement to her fellow breast cancer 'sisters.' Her death as well as Meg's ripped my heart out, I know how much they loved their families and life. You too can see Christina's courageous journey here.
I too, like both of my 'sisters' above, am battling Triple Negative Breast Cancer Stage IV. I am a 37 year old mom and wife, married to my best friend and the love of my life. I have 5 beautiful children. My baby's ages are 18, 11, 8, 5 and 2 years old. I have been battling this disease since July 2013. In March of 2014, I was told by my doctor that I may have a year to live, but because of the aggressive measure of my disease they didn't know truly if I'd live that long. I do not want to die! I have to live, my babies need me, my husband needs me. I am fighting this disease with everything I can. When I told my children, that the cancer had returned in less than 3 months of being declared 'Cancer Free' through tears one of my babies asked me, "Mom are you going to die?" With a lump in my throat, tears in my heart and strength in my voice, "I cannot answer this, but I will fight with every breathe that I take to stay with you here." I will keep this promise!
I know 'statically' what I am up against. This is the most UNDERFUNDED breast cancer disease. Triple Negative Breast Cancer affects young woman, has the highest reoccurrence rate along with the highest morality rate with no targeted therapies. So along with 'western medicine' under the care of one of the most brilliant doctors in the field of cancer, Dr. Robert Nagourney of Rational Therapeutics in Long Beach who does specialized tumor testing, I am doing every natural immune-building therapy I can and can afford. Through fundraising efforts my journey has taken our family to Austria for intense non-FDA treatments. Next we are gearing up for treatments in Mexico. Along with an army of supporters and love, we are fighting this disease with everything we can for the privilege that so many lose daily... hearing my babies say 'Momma.' I am fighting so hard for all my sisters that I loose weekly, to find another way of killing Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I don't want to die, I have to live!
You can also follow my journey and join our army on Facebook or our website.
This month is much more than waves of Pink. This month is Meg Sager, Christina Newman and myself, along with countless women dying right now! This month is Sam Sager, Ernesto Monne and Andrew Amento, along with countless fathers having to explain something they themselves cannot begin to understand to their children! This month is for Ellie & Cora Sager, Ava and Alyssa Newman-Monne and Mea, AndrewIII, Isabella, Josiah and Anabelle Amento along with countless other children left motherless. Sometimes we get so caught up in the 'propaganda' of the cause that we don't see the faces of the cause. Please don't loose sight of the Faces of this disease, the reason for the Pink Cause.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. To read all posts in the series, visit here.