Melina Williams tells the story of her journey with breast cancer. She is so brave and such an inspiration!
"If my journey can inspire or uplift even just one person, it’s definitely worth it for me.
I was diagnosed in 2018, initially stage 3, with lymph node Involvement, grade 3. ER+PR + HER2-. After further examination, doctors explained that the behavior of my cancer was unique in the sense of aggression of a Her2+ although being negative. My oncologist wanted me to start treatment immediately, so I was given 2 weeks to complete fertility preservation since I had not had children and voiced my desire to become a mother once day.
With help from family and friends we were able to raise funds for the treatment as unfortunately it’s not covered by insurance. Then I was also put in a clinic trial where immunotherapy was also administered alongside conventional chemotherapy. Everything you can imagine going wrong did, I was allergic to the chemotherapy drug and went into anaphylactic shock on my 3rd treatment. Luckily my cousin was paying attention and realized I couldn’t breathe and called the nurses over and they started working on me to stabilize me. After that incident my infusion treatments went from 4-5 hours to 8-9 hours because they doubled my premeds and slowed the drip of infusion to prevent the allergic reaction. I was not able to work, due to the extreme side effects of treatment. A couple weeks after my last infusion of active treatment, six months after my treatment began, I ended up in the ICU in critical condition. I lost my pancreatic function and adrenal glands function due to treatment and was considered in adrenal crisis and DKA. I was discharged a week later. That in itself was and has been life altering. I was restaged after chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments to stage 2 and no longer had lymph node involvement. I had surgery to remove the cancer and had 11 lymph nodes, also did 30 rounds of radiation in 2019 and had reconstruction in 2020. Hormone therapy was too harsh on my body, so I opted not to continue. Today I live with Type 1 Diabetes and Adrenal Insufficiency and although I have good days and bad, great moments and not so great ones, I get to live and I don’t take that for granted because I know there are many others that don’t have this opportunity.
I have an amazing husband who is my biggest cheerleader and supports me with anything I do and reminds me to rest when I’m not feeling that great. I have been blessed with an amazing employer, I volunteer with YSC, and I also volunteer as treasurer for the Young Breast Cancer Project nonprofit organization. I also share my experiences writing for WebMD for their Patient Blogs series. Being able to give back to the cancer community in any capacity brings me immense happiness. The breast cancer community is made up of so many amazing people who beyond everything they have gone through or are still going through, will take the time from their day and whatever energy they may have left to reach out and let you know they are thinking of you. To show up for you. That love, that humanity just amazes me, and I am extremely lucky to be connected to them."
Here is Melina in our Wilderness bralette: