"I have a little baby," she says. "Am I going to die?"
Can you imagine how hard it was for Theresa to discover breast cancer just a few months after she had her baby? It was heartbreaking!
There were so many times when she thought she’d never be a mom, something she wanted more than anything in the world. Even after six miscarriages, she didn’t lose hope. She kept believing. And then finally, thankfully, she delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy, named Thaddeus.
Theresa beamed with happiness. With her husband and her baby, her world was complete, filled with more love than she ever imagined. It was seven months of bliss, until something seemed very wrong.
Theresa noticed something strange in one of her breasts. She thought, "It’s nothing – probably just an infected milk duct." But it didn’t go away. She waited, nervously. Still no change.
So, she got it checked out, and tests confirmed it: inflammatory breast cancer. But Theresa was determined to fight and win. "I have a little baby," she says. "I would hate to think I’d go through all this just to leave my son motherless."
Together with oncologist Dr. Ricardo Costa and surgeon Dr. Brian Czerniecki at Moffitt Cancer Center, Theresa has a treatment plan in place, along with lots of resolve. "My treatment team at Moffitt," she says, "gave me the courage to know that I can beat this." And that’s why we call her Tenacious Theresa. She’s a fighter. She’s a breast cancer advocate. And most of all, she’s a mom. “Years from now,” she says, "when Thaddeus is older, I hope he can say, 'I helped my mommy beat cancer.'" This is the difference you make for people with cancer.