Aleida Rodriguez was diagnosed with breast cancer on March 19, 2008. She had become a member of a club that no one asks to or wants to join. Aleida's doctor told her that she was one of the lucky ones though - they had caught it early and there was no sign of cancer in her lymph nodes. Aleida's doctors said her cancer was stage 1. Aleida accepted it and moved forward with her fight against breast cancer. Aleida had a mastectomy and reconstruction of the right breast where the cancer had been. Aleida also underwent chemotherapy. Aleida was then told that she was free of cancer. She took tamoxifen and later femara every day. Aleida Rodriguez lived her life. She worked. She travelled with her husband. She exercised and lived a healthy life. Aleida went to all of her periodic checkups with her oncologist, had mammograms of her left breast where there had been no cancer and MRIs of her reconstructed right breast where she'd had the mastectomy. Aleida had lost her hair to chemotherapy, gotten her hair back and let it grow out long again. By April 2012 Aleida was a four-year breast cancer survivor and she turned her fight against cancer to help others by cutting her long, beautiful, curly hair and donating it to be made into wigs for other chemotherapy patients.
In May and June 2012 Aleida had a cough that she couldn't get rid of and saw her primary care physician. The doctors thought it might be Valley Fever or pneumonia. When antibiotics would not clear up the cough Aleida had a biopsy of her right lung. On July 6, 2012, Aleida got the second shock of a lifetime - she was told that her breast cancer was in her lungs. Aleida immediately had MRIs, CT scans, mammograms, and bone scans. She then found out the breast cancer was also in her liver and bones. As it turns out, Aleida's breast cancer had never really been gone. There was no sign of the cancer where her right breast had been (where the cancer originated from). There was no sign of the cancer in her left breast. The breast cancer was now in Aleida's lungs, liver, and bones. Aleida started chemotherapy on July 11, 2012. She was in the hospital for three weeks for the first round of chemotherapy and then was allowed to go home. Aleida was then home for two weeks before she was readmitted to the hospital. Aleida endured the pain of fluid around her lungs, fevers, and multiple thoracentesis procedures to remove the fluid from around her lungs. Aleida never stopped fighting cancer. But when Aleida knew that her battle against breast cancer would soon be lost she again turned her fight to help others. Aleida wanted a research fund to be set up so that other breast cancer patients could hopefully live longer fuller lives. Aleida wanted others to benefit from earlier cancer detection, better diagnosis and staging of breast cancers, and improved treatment for metastatic breast cancer. On August 29, 2012, three days short of her fifth wedding anniversary, Aleida Rodriguez died.
Although there have been great advancements in breast cancer treatments, one in every eight women in the United States still develop the disease during their lifetime. Every 13 minutes breast cancer claims another life, making it the second leading cause of death from cancer in American women. Better diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies can be developed, but only when the complex nature of breast cancer is understood.
The Aleida Rodriguez fund for Breast Cancer Research has been set up to fund the research that Aleida hoped would save and extend the lives and quality of life of breast cancer patients. Click the donate button above to make a donation to this fund.