October is breast cancer awareness month.
For one local woman this month also marks the first time she’s publically shared her battle, one that changed and saved her life.
Michelle Pena hopes her story will encourage others to get checked.
She also hopes it will keep their sparkle from dimming.
“I love being an inspiration to somebody who will go get their mamogram. Go get checked. Make sure you’re doing self evaluation, self exams. It’s really important. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Cancer does not discriminate,” said Michelle Pena.
Pena kept her battle with breast cancer relatively quite.
That was until this month when Pena posted a heartfelt message on Facebook.
“You’re in charge of your happiness and how you go about your day. You can either wake up and decide I’m going to be grumpy today and I’m going to be sad for what’s happening to me or you can look at it as, yes, this is happening to me but I’m not going to let it win,” Pena said.
The post detailed Pena’s battle.
An abnormal mamogram in Dec. 2018.
A number of tests and doctors visits.
A final diagnosis of DCIS, an aggressive ductal carcinomal.
Then a lumpectomy in Feb and lymphnodes removed.
Radiation, complications, a number of side effects and a divorce, but it didn’t dull her sparkle.
“It was aweful and you know all I can do is smile because I think that, yes, cancer is aweful. It’s really terrible and it definitely effected my life and there was definitely days that I cried alot, but for the most part I figured I can’t let it win. I’m not going to let it bring me down. I’m not going to get depressed. I’m going to live my life. It woke me up. It woke me up to the point where I knew I’m going to live each day like it’s my last. This is my life and I’m going to get up every day and I’m going to be happy and I’m going to smile and I’m going to try to inspire other women to do the same,” Pena said.
Which is why every day Pena adds a little sparkle to social media.
A new way to fight.
“Cancer totally changed my life to the point where I feel like I sparkle every day,” Pena said.