Hi my name is Celine I am 47 years, young. Yes, Celine like Dion but I sing Selena songs…lol I am a brave survivor of stage 3 breast cancer. I am also a survivor of many other situations that I won’t get into. Besides, no one will believe it….lol I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas with my parents and three siblings. I was also raised in Monterrey, Mexico with my Abuelita and all my mother’s side of the family. Yes, I had the best of both worlds. I remember since I was born I would commute to Monterrey by myself for every holiday and summer. I was always surrounded by very strong educated woman. My Abuelita, the strongest of them all would always tell me that my hands were like an angel. She would say that my kind and caring soul would change the world one day. I am still alive so I pray to prove her right.
I want to thank you so much for taking the time out to read my story. With your help by sharing my story I pray my dream to run a breast cancer care home will come true! When I was 18, I proudly joined the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. At age 19, I married a man in the Army that later became a Wounded Warrior. At age 20, my dream of creating a care home for the elderly and disabled came true. By age 25, I found myself running five care homes. I was also raising four amazing children (all c-sections…lol) and a step daughter. At age 46, my life was at a stand still.
In November of 2015, I was showering and felt a ball on the side of my left breast. I thought to myself this must be a cyst there is no way it could be cancer. “Please, I don’t have time for this.” “Not me, not now.” I still took every precaution even though I convinced myself it was just a cyst. I went for a breast exam then a mammogram right away. By December of 2015, I was going from one appointment to another taking test after test. Instead of Christmas shopping with my children, I found myself in a cold doctor’s office waiting for my results. I will never forget my whole body going numb when the doctor informed me that I had breast cancer. As I held my eldest daughter, my Nina, my Serenity in my arms, sobbing I felt that my life was over. OMG….What if I don’t see any of my amazing children grow and prosper? What about my mother? She lost my dear brother. I couldn’t have her lose me as well. My whole family in Monterrey would be completely devastated. And what about my love what will he do without me? Will I be able to play my violin again? I had no choice. I must survive. I truly believe that everything that happens to you is for a reason. That’s it, I got breast cancer to help others.
At first, I was very rebellious. I will not do chemo therapy. There is no way I am not losing my beautiful hair. For goodness sake, my hair was my signature. But, as I met all the lovely medical staff at C.T.R.C. they helped me make the right decisions. I had stage 3 Her2 left breast cancer with a tumor over eight inches. My treatment plan was six rounds of chemotherapy every three weeks in a six month span. I completely lost my beautiful hair, eyebrows and leg hair….etc. Oh yes, that chemo was that strong! But I was stronger than that! I was so sick I could not keep anything down. I drank a lot of ice water and Ensure. I lost over 40 pounds and my tumor completely shrunk. All my doctor’s were so amazed!
In July of 2016, after enduring a left breast mastectomy, my doctor sat me down and looked into my eyes and said “Congratulations, you are cancer free.” The cancer also didn’t spread to any of my lymph nodes. Wow, I felt like I hit the lottery. How wonderful to live life and appreciate it on a much higher level! I was also told that radiation therapy was the standard of care. But, I opted out because I felt that it would be jeopardizing my heart and healthy tissue. “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!” In September of 2016, I had reconstructive surgery and I carried around three drains for four long weeks. Boy, what a challenge to shower or even to just walk around. Hiding them was a painful route. So what to do…..I invented a waterproof drain pouch. I am so happy to report that I am now 100% recovered and ready to conquer the world again!