Breast Cancer Patient
There were many times when Theresa thought she would never get to be a mom, something she wanted to be more than anything in the world.
That’s why after six miscarriages, she waited until she heard her “miracle baby” cry in the delivery room before she truly believed it had happened.
Thaddeus was in her arms and nothing was going to break their bond.
Little did Theresa know how much, and how quickly, her resolve would be tested.
Seven months after Thaddeus was born, she started noticing some changes in one of her breasts. Perhaps a milk duct was infected, she thought.
But a couple months later her symptoms persisted so she decided to get it checked out. Tests confirmed that this new mom had inflammatory breast cancer.
“I have a little baby that I've fought so hard for and I just wanted to know, ‘Am I going to die?", says Theresa, who was diagnosed at age 37. “I would hate to think that I would go through all this just to leave my son motherless.”
But “Tenacious Theresa,” a name she has proudly given herself, didn’t back down from the fight.
“Quickly,” she says, “I had to turn that around and realize I am not going to die because of those same reasons.”
Together with her oncologist Dr. Ricardo Costa and surgeon Dr. Brian Czerniecki, she had a treatment plan in place, giving her the fire to move forward with the battle.
“My treatment team at Moffitt gave me the courage to know that I can beat this,” says Theresa, an attorney and president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association.
In the process, “Tenacious Theresa” has become a breast cancer advocate after learning that inflammatory breast cancer is prevalent in African-American women. Many women may not recognize the different symptoms, she says.
Theresa admits being a new mom and dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment can be a struggle but looks to her family who is a constant source of support.
She’s certain when Thaddeus gets older he’ll be able to say, “I helped my mommy beat cancer.”