In January of 2020 — just six months after I got to marry the love of my life — I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer (HER2+ ER+ PR-) My husband and I were enjoying every second of our honeymoon until he noticed a massive lump in my right breast. As a 28 year old, I was not checking myself regularly. It never crossed my mind that something like this could happen at such a young age. I had no family history, no red flags, no symptoms. I cannot stress this enough.. CANCER DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE. One minute you’re fine.. and the next you’re fighting for your life. We have to be proactive and we have to be aware of changes in our bodies, because when cancer comes knocking on your door, your entire world gets turned upside down. After my diagnosis, things started moving fairly quickly. One of the first steps was genetic testing. Results of the genetic testing would play a huge part in our decision making process. I tested negative for 33 genes that could be linked to breast cancer.. 33!!! What people don’t realize is that only 5-10% of cancer is genetic. While waiting for the results of my genetic testing, I had a PET scan done to see if the cancer had moved to any other areas in my body (in my case, it moved to two axillary lymph nodes). I also met with a fertility specialist because cancer treatment can cause infertility — not something any newlywed wants to hear. This was a HUGE decision that we basically had to make within a day. The problem with fertility treatment is that it delays the start of treatment by about 3 weeks. As a stage 3 cancer patient, this has many many risks — metastasis being at the very top of the list. My husband and I knew that this was something we wanted to do. We always pictured our lives as parents so this was a risk we were willing to take. Despite how difficult the process was we pushed through together. After three extremely difficult weeks, I had 10 mature eggs extracted and stored. Right then and there I was put into medical menopause — also not something you would expect as a 28 year old newlywed — but it had to be done. Fast forward from the start of chemo (February 2020), to surgery (June 2020), radiation (August 2020) and the end of immunotherapy (October 2020). It was a hell of a ride but I am so thankful to have had so much support from my friends and family throughout my entire journey. As I hit my one-year milestones, I have a lot more to be grateful for, than to complain about. I remind myself every single day that I am blessed beyond belief. I know that no matter what happens down the line, I will NEVER be alone. Everyone needs to realize that time is a gift — not something we are entitled to — and no matter how much you try, you cannot control it. It’s important to live in the NOW and to never take life for granted. To all the men and women who are battling for their lives — I know how difficult this is. It is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Feel all the feelings! It’s going to hurt but don’t hold back. Let it out but once that’s done, take a deep breath and search for positive experiences.. positive stories. Surround yourself with good and tune out the rest. Understand that your story and your journey are unique. I remind myself of this every single day and it helps me tune out even my darkest thoughts. I’m hoping that my story will shed a light on the importance of paying attention to your body and advocating for yourself when something doesn’t feel right. And when you feel isolated and afraid, just know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!