Manila Bulletin

Faces of Breast Can­cer

- Cancer · Women's Health · Bullying · Abortions · Breast Cancer · Health Conditions · Society · United States of America · South Carolina · Lizzo · Janelle Monae

prayed for ac­cep­tance, I be­gan to un­der­stand why God al­lowed can­cer in me.”

Hav­ing a pos­i­tive mind­set, she says, helped her win against the dis­ease.

“Can­cer has shaped me to be­come a grate­ful per­son, even with seem­ingly triv­ial things. For ex­am­ple, I love that my long thick hair has grown back, and my nails have turned pink again,” Aromin shares. “Noth­ing can com­pare to the joy of car­ry­ing a baby in my arms again. Be­ing en­trusted with the care of pa­tients is a gift.”

Crisann Cel­dran, ICanServe foun­da­tion chair­man Crisann Cel­dran was just 26 years old when she found out she had stage three breast can­cer.

She had just mar­ried her best friend and was look­ing for­ward to a new, ex­cit­ing chap­ter in her life.

“Right in the mid­dle of this so-called per­fec­tion, a doc­tor I went to for no ap­par­ent rea­son felt a pal­pa­ble lump in my breast. I had not ex­pe­ri­enced any pain of any sort,” says Cel­dran.

She im­me­di­ately un­der­went a mod­i­fied rad­i­cal mas­tec­tomy that left her with a sin­gle breast. Cel­dran also en­dured six months of chemo­ther­apy and 33 ses­sions of ra­di­a­tion, which left her bald and ex­hausted.

In 2005, six years af­ter her di­ag­no­sis, Cel­dran sat down and cel­e­brated with her doc­tor.

“Al­though we were both ec­static to know there was no more can­cer in my body, I still wanted a child,” she says. “She did give me a go sig­nal. She never re­ally said it ex­plic­itly, but I knew my chances to have a child were slim.”

De­spite fears the gru­el­ing treat­ment could have dam­aged her fer­til­ity, Cel­dran dis­cov­ered she was preg­nant.

“In a month, I was feeling un­well. In­stead, I found out I was preg­nant. Six weeks later, through my first ul­tra­sound, I found out I wasn’t hav­ing a child. I was hav­ing two! We were shell-shocked,” she re­calls.

Cel­dran’s doc­tors ex­pected a dif­fi­cult and pos­si­bly com­pli­cated preg­nancy, but it turned out to be rel­a­tively easy. To­day, her med­i­cal tests still show there is no ev­i­dence of the dis­ease.

“Ev­ery morn­ing, when my two en­er­getic boys barge in and greet me a great morn­ing, I am re­minded that mir­a­cles can hap­pen to any­one ev­ery day,” she adds.

Rita Nazareno, de­signer and TV pro­ducer

Af­ter 24 years of liv­ing abroad,

Rita Nazareno left her Emmy Award-win­ning tele­vi­sion ca­reer in the US to helm her own la­bel un­der the her­itage of her fam­ily-owned busi­ness S.C. Viz­carra. But shortly af­ter mov­ing back, she was di­ag­nosed with stage 2B breast can­cer.

Nazareno un­der­went a double mas­tec­tomy and en­dured eight cy­cles of chemo­ther­apy and 33 ses­sions of ra­di­a­tion.

“From the on­set, I made sure to sur­round my­self with laugh­ter and pos­i­tiv­ity. It was tough but I had a great sup­port sys­tem,” she says. “I learned about mind­ful­ness and aware­ness. And I had in­cred­i­ble, very lovely peo­ple who stuck by me. They wouldn’t let me go.”

Look­ing back, Nazareno re­mem­bers how tough her jour­ney was. “It was af­ter I was cleared and started tak­ing the med­i­ca­tion that the de­pres­sion hit me. But I was able to find re­sources to help me cope—med­i­ta­tion helped me a great deal,” she says.

Speak­ing through ex­pe­ri­ence, Nazareno has sev­eral tips for those who are cur­rently un­der­go­ing treat­ment: “Keep the mu­sic play­ing, and lis­ten to Lizzo or Janelle Monae. Watch fun movies and TV shows with friends and fam­ily. Sur­round your­self with peo­ple who will make you laugh. Cel­e­brate your bat­tle scars and med­i­tate.”

Nazareno has been in re­mis­sion since 2012. Aside from de­sign­ing hand­wo­ven bags and watch­ing her other cre­ative ideas brought to life by her world-class crafts­men, she is also pas­sion­ate in sup­port­ing breast can­cer aware­ness.

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