In many ways, I see everything from a different perspective.
Hello my name is Sibella Bresciani. I am a cancer survivor.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of March of 2019, I was in shock. I felt numb. I was in disbelief of my diagnosis and also knew that there are events in life that I can not control.
This was the second time that I was diagnosed with cancer, first time was skin cancer in 1995.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on my left breast: invasive ductal carcinoma, ER-PR positive, stage 2. After, I started accepting that I had cancer I had a feeling of fear and anxiety.
After going to several doctors and find out all types of treatments, I decided to have double mastectomy with reconstruction with implants.
My first operation was in June of 2019 and I started my cancer treatment with Aromatase inhibitor, (Anastrozole) had double mastectomy with a set of expanders. The expanders were very painful and uncomfortable and I had them for three months.
My second operation was done in September of 2019, I had reconstruction of my breast with implants .The operation was not a total success due that I had a terrible pulling on my left pectoral muscle and developed cording. The doctor also removed five lymph nodes.
I started physical Therapy and continued taking Anastrozole. My pain was getting worse day by day, I was in constant pain during the whole day. I had to have a revision to solve the problem.
My third operation was done by another doctor. The operation consisted or removal of the implants and replacement with a new set. This operation was even worse, my left breast never dropped, it was very high on my chest like two inches higher than the right breast. Now the pain was even worse. I had pain on my chest, arm, shoulder and neck, because the doctor cut some of my pectoral muscle. I continued with physical therapy.
I had to have another revision.
My fourth operation was the replacement of the implant only on my left breast. This operation was even worse, the doctor cut my pectoral muscle even more and did not put the mesh to keep my implant in place, so this time my left breast was two inches lower than the right one and it was moving all around my chest and even toward the side of my body. My pain was day and night on my chest, back, neck, arm and shoulder, I continued with physical therapy.
I had to have another revision.
At this point I had a feeling of sadness and loneliness and no mater how many people I had around me, I still had the same feeling. I was mad, angry and depressed. I did not see an exit, I did not see a light, I felt hopeless.
Besides all the pain that comes with the operations, I was having a lot of joint pain and fatigue due to the cancer treatment I was taking - and that I needed to take from five to ten years.
I started reading about Aesthetic Flat Closure -the removal of breast implants and extra breast tissue and skin. After seven months of countless nights of reading, researching, sleep deprivation and talking to other cancer survivors, I decided to do Aesthethic Flat Closure. It was one of the hardest decision of my life,I new that my life was going to change forever.
I went to see a wonderful doctor at Miami Cancer Institute.
My fifth operation was July 11 of 2021. The operation was very successful, and even though it was successful I needed a lot of physical therapy for my pectoral muscles and shoulders. Also, the doctor found more cancer (skin cancer) between my skin and the implant on my right breast.
At this point it was almost three years on this journey and I could say my life changed forever in many aspects. First of all: I had no breasts. Again, in physical therapy.
I still had pain on my chest wall and also pulling of the muscle. I have to be constantly stretching, due to all the damage caused by the cutting of the pectoral muscle. Even though I had some discomfort and pain that I managed with exercise and massage, the only thing that made me feel better was one of my favorite things to do in life: paint. Painting has been my therapy all my life and now even more, the more I paint the more I forget about pain and discomfort.
My sixth operation was the removal of my nipples in November 11, 2022. Until this day I continue with physical therapy, exercising and chronic pain, but feeling better day by day.
On these four years of this long journey, I learned and discovered how strong I was and I am. I learned that my inner strength was much more than what I thought it was. I met some wonderful people and friends that are living or lived the same journey as me (the cancer journey).
I have different priorities in life.
Even though before this journey I always focused on health and sports, I do it even more now.
Since I am an artist and the only thing that gives me relief is to create and paint, now it is one of the most important priorities in my life.
I enjoy nature even more than before, since I have strong belief that nature is the paintings of God.
I am very selective with people and who I really want to call friend.
I learned on this journey who my true friends were.
I paint, write, meditate, and continue exercising.
I learned and did a lot of research about natural medication to fight cancer or stop it from recurrence.
I do not take the conventional medication for cancer anymore, I concentrate in natural approach.
I thank God for this journey. He has giving me so much wisdom, so I see life from a different perspective.
Even though I still have some chronic pain and discomfort and maybe I will never be the same person or feel the same way as I was before, I thank God for giving me hope and strength, He has been always holding my hand on this journey. Very seldom I miss my breasts, I can say that I am happy and blessed. Like I always say: never the loser, always the winner. Never the victim, always the fighter.
Cancer gave me the right to prioritize what my family needed and what I needed, and I have maintained those priorities for 13 years.
Being a long-term survivor of 5 cancers lets me use my challenges for the good of other people. My story is not a sob story about what I have been through, but is a success story about how I have been through it.