13 years ago, Vivian Leal thought her life was perfect. She was 29 years old, she was a successful educator, she was happily married and she had 3 small children. However, at that age, she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and metastatic liver. It was not an encouraging diagnosis.
You are at home, everything is perfect, when suddenly, an earthquake attacks you. Eight days later I called the doctor, he gave me a catastrophic diagnosis: all biopsies were altered, I had invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 4, he had to perform a radical mastectomy. I did not understand anything,
Vivian underwent surgery, chemotherapy treatments for almost nine years, always with a positive attitude. There was a point in which she had to stop her treatment because her body had too much toxicity and her heart was at risk.
According to Vivian, cancer is a family struggle, since it is a hard, complicated and devastating process.
She tells that she has seen many friends, patients like her, die not because of cancer but due to depression, anxiety, rejection and disappointment that this disease generates.
October is coming and cancer prevention activities will increase, and although oncologist at Mexico Hospital Denis Landaverde welcomes the initiatives, he said that there are patients who escape from them.
As Landaverde explained, campaigns often focus on group of women who have options to cure cancer, but they don’t approch metastases cases. According to him, there is a 20% of women who cannot be cured, but they can be treated.
Thinking about them and what it means to have this diagnosis, the Costa Rican Association of Medical Oncology (ACOMED) aims to eradicate the social stereotypes that accompany the disease.
“You will never walk alone” it is a campaign to raise awareness, to help patients’s caregivers.
They need this space that is not only for medical consultation, we are running out of psychosocial, spiritual care, and I don’t mean religion. Those are the tools that patients and caregivers need to deal with their situation,
explained the doctor.