MBC Patient Story

by Helen Palomino

CRCD was granted a second time to fund a program for women diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) and their families through Avon-Pfizer Metastatic Grants.  We successfully helped more than 18 women diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer and their families.  

As we close our 2017 MBC Program,  we want to share the story of one of our dear patients, Rebeca. 

My name is Rebeca.  I was born in Tijuana, Mexico into a large family.  At the age of 19, I got married and moved to San Diego, California and had my daughter Rebeca Eugenia in 1994. My husband went into the military and soon after we moved to Clarksville, Tennessee where we lived for 5 years.  My son Arturo was born. My husband got discharged from the military and became a federal agent for the Border Patrol. We then moved to the dusty hot El Centro, California.  I have lived here for the past 16 years. The day of my 37th birthday in 2008, I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer, Stage IV. I was told my cancer had no cure. I could only think about my two children. My daughter was 14 and my son was 9. In my prayers, I begged God to let me see my children grow. I went through chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation.  Since 2009, every 3 weeks I commute a 2-hour drive to San Diego, California to receive my medical care.  Same drive to receive the infusion that has kept me alive, Herceptin. I also take a Letrozole every day. This illness has taught me to live my life to the fullest and to truly enjoy each day.  To always fill my days with nothing but positivity and laughter. In 2010, after finally divorcing my husband, I moved on my own with my two kids. Since then, I have lived a freeing life without any feelings of insecurity and fear. I was able to see my daughter graduate with her Bachelors in Biology and Psychology and soon I will see my son gradate high school. Many things have changed in my life. I have accomplished many things I never would have dreamed before cancer. I have grown as a person and I have met and been a part of the lives of many women living with stage IV breast cancer just like me. I love being a part of these women’s journey.  The most important thing for me is to show these wonderful women that they are not alone.  In just these past few years, I have witnessed how this illness has extinguished the lives of these beautiful women. I have vowed to continue with my journey as long as I can and to use my time to empower other women in honor of those who have gone on ahead of me.