When Cancer hits home (Part 1)

clickforhope give back cancer story

Please share your story:

Early last year my husband was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma.  As a family we were devastated.  We have two small children & a lot going on in our busy lives already, taking on cancer treatment was going to be a hefty task & we clearly worried about the impact it may have on our children.  Thankfully he handled treatment well with minimal side effects & we were able to get through without ever saying the dreaded “C” word to our kids who were two & four at the time.  He was in remission as of August of 2015 & we grew stronger from the process.  I believe now, that it was God’s way of preparing us for my cancer.

I noticed a lump in my left breast in November of 2015.  But after all that my family had just been through, I wanted them to get through the holidays stress free so I opted not to call my physician until January.  A decision I later worried may cost me my life.  In February I was diagnosed with Stage 2B Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.  My surgeon estimated the tumor had been growing for approximately two years & treatment needed to start ASAP.  


I had bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction (tram flap) in March.  I did 8 rounds of chemotherapy, starting in April & completed that in August.  Following chemo, I completed 33 rounds of radiation.  I’ll be on hormone therapy for ten years going forward & have one surgery remaining to complete reconstruction which I am safely waiting until next year to tackle.

Meanwhile, while I was going through chemo my husband became concerned that his lymphoma may be returning. Seriously, right??  Following some tests, his doctors confirmed that he had relapsed or possibly the cancer was never fully gone in the first place as we had thought.  He began treatment again this month (Oct) & will continue treatment for the next three years. 

It’s been a crazy long road & certainly a lot more than we had ever anticipated when it all began last year.  Cancer has given us a plethora of challenges, but it’s made us stronger & we appreciate life & one another now more than ever.  Most would consider us unlucky to both have gotten cancer, we would say that we’re blessed to have one another for support as we face these battles together.

 How has your story shaped who you are today?:

It's changed my life completely! I don't spend time now worrying about the future or things I can't change, it's wasted energy. Instead I focus on today & making it the best it can be. My focus is on positivity & the things that I can work to change for the better. 

 What compelled you to share your story on our blog?: 

Through it all my focus has been to remain positive.  I was encouraged by my friends, family & even my physicians to share my story, so I started a website, positivelysurvivingcancer.com. It's been amazing so far & I've had so many people reach out to me personally through the blog & Instagram. It's just so wonderful to take something so terrible & make something positive out of it. Stress is an ugly thing that can really slow down our body’s healing process, so it important to train ourselves to focus on positivity. I also really believe that if we look our best, we feel our best. Feeling our best is so important through cancer treatment because it allows our bodies to fight that much harder!  I would love to help continue to spread the word about my site & help more fellow cancer warriors out there as they make their way through this journey.

 What encouraging words would you give to someone who shares a similar story?:

Take it all one day at a time, one question at a time. Be strong & positive, don't let worries or negative thoughts take your strength!

Make Today Great T-Shirt: Hope 25

Blush Maxi Skirt: Marsymo

Posted on October 18, 2016 and filed under breast Cancer, Cancer, Family, Marriage, Clickforhope.

My name is Jasmine, and I'm a Lopez

I recently confessed to my small group that I struggle with being Hispanic. And while some may have not fully understood what I meant or how that could be. I must admit that I felt free.....like a caged bird who had just been released. It has been something I've struggled with my entire life.

You see, I'm a 3rd generation Latino American and I don't speak Spanish fluently. I struggled with learning it as a child and often got confused, so I asked my mom for "English only" (which I regret as an adult), but could totally understand why my little heart would ask for that. I grew up not sure where I fit in. My skin was too tan for white girls and I wasn't "authentic" enough for Hispanics. I also dealt with a constant assumption that Puerto Ricans are the same as Mexicans. There became this distinction that being Puerto Rican was in some way better than being Mexican. So there came a point where I was clarifying how WE ARE NOT THE SAME, all the while denying my very own Mexican heritage.

As an adult I've done everything I could by my own power to prove my worth, and break the negative stereotypes that are often thought of consciously or subconsciously towards someone who is Hispanic. Negative stereotypes such as: when you want to hire a landscaper who is cheap, you hire a Mexican, when you need a mechanic for cheap, you hire a Mexican,....see the pattern here?!? When I first became a portrait and wedding photographer, I began seeing this stereotype be applied to me. Now I admit I could have very well written this story for myself, and allowed something that was not truth to become truth. But the feelings it brought me sucked! Comment after comment, I wondered, "Am I being judged by my last name?" I began to question my own worth as a creative entrepreneur.

The industry also very much so, taught me that I must only show what I want to shoot. That this "type of person" is what is wealthy looked like, which was who could afford me. This marketing strategy left me feeling even more lost and unsure of myself as an artist. Is this what I really dreamed of for my brand?  Did I really want to be that exclusive?!? I'm at a place where I'm now asking, how can I create a brand that is inclusive, and where all economic statuses could have an opportunity to be photographed by me and have beautiful photographs of them while valuing my work and time.

As I opened my heart, and began having conversations with others about my struggles, I'm learning to embrace who I am. I'm in a season where I long to be my TRUE self. The person who God created me to be. I'm still journeying through it all, and dismantling the lies I've believed to be true. I recently went to a women's conference and heard a speaker say, "Your culture is not a curse, it's a blessing," she said, "it's time to start having these hard conversations and stop acting like race doesn't matter. It does matter! And ignoring it doesn't change it."

That spoke volumes to me, and I began to allow the Lord to speak and transform my heart. He began to remind me of His word. How I'm His masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows me by name, and knows the numbers of hair on my head. He is with me and for me.

I began asking myself what's my identity, who is she now at 32yrs old? How does she see herself? And while I'm still very much in the process still of answering all these questions, I do know that I have something to say.

There's only ONE me.

I have a voice.

I was created with a purpose and destiny that only I can fulfill.

Because I HAVE A NAME and it matters!

What have been your cultural and racial struggles? Comment below and share your thoughts with me!!!