"Hope Among Us, One Year Later." Breast Cancer Journeys of Hope & Faith
One Year Later: Hope Among Us: Three Young Breast Cancer Survivors
Rhonda Eyzaguirre PhD, Jennifer Dresser, Mari Guzman
It has been exactly one year since we released Hope Among Us: Stories of Three Young Breast Cancer Survivors – on January 1, 2021. It was our sincere hope going into 2021 that we would be putting both cancer and the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. Thankfully, one year later, we three authors are still N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease). However, many other women – and men – have heard those earth-shattering words, “You Have Breast Cancer.” More than 280,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2021. Also, the world is still struggling with the pandemic, which makes life hard and life with cancer even harder. In the past year, we have tried to spread our message of hope and resilience. We have reached many people and also increased our skill sets. Our many “firsts” included: We added a hard cover book, were interviewed on live television, were featured on podcasts, had the book featured in magazines, started our own website, and started a YouTube channel. Our proudest moment was cheering on survivors from our author booth at the Sacramento capitol steps for the Making Strides of Breast Cancer Walk.
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Here is our story. Nine years ago, Rhonda Eyzaguirre met Mari Guzman when their sons started preschool in the same class. Rhonda met Jennifer Dresser five years ago when their daughters started kindergarten together. They become friends through their children and have many shared experiences, including their diagnoses of breast cancer. All three of them were diagnosed with the same kind of breast cancer, estrogen and progesterone positive (ER+ PR+), HER2 negative (HER2-) invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC). They were all diagnosed at the same hospital at a young age (between 37 and 42). In addition, they are also all daughters of breast cancer survivors.
Despite their similarities, the three women have unique challenges in their breast cancer journeys. Rhonda had a Variant of Uncertain Significance (VUS) on her BRCA2 gene and also had thirteen tumors. Jennifer was diagnosed in 2012 and had a recurrence in 2019. Mari had eleven positive lymph nodes and also dealt with treatment delivery during COVID-19. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rhonda met with Jennifer and Mari to provide support and encouragement since Jennifer and Mari were still going through treatment. As young breast cancer survivors, they decided to collaborate and document their experiences on paper.
The authors share their unique perspectives while exploring their experiences battling breast cancer through an optimistic and inspirational lens of hope. The authors present their experiences through different lenses of time (one month, six months, and three years in survivorship). They write raw, honest accounts of their breast cancer journeys. They also interviewed their mothers to understand their experiences as breast cancer survivors. In addition, they interviewed their spouses and children for their perspectives on how cancer affects the family. The authors also share resources that can be utilized during the treatment and survivorship periods.
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The intended audience of Hope Among Us: Stories of Three Young Breast Cancer Survivors is breast cancer patients, cancer survivors, caregivers, health care providers, and anyone intrigued by the rise of breast cancer in young women. This book aims to offer hope not only to cancer survivors but to anyone feeling lost, overwhelmed or broken. Hope Among Us: Stories of Three Young Breast Cancer Survivors was released on Amazon ONE YEAR AGO TODAY. It is available in three versions: paperback, hardcover and eBook. The authors’ Facebook page is @HopeAmongUsBook. Their website is www.hopeamongusbook.com.