Many people with a diagnosis of breast cancer feel all alone on their journey. Melody Resendiz knew right away that she needed company as she navigated through the shock, confusion, and fear. She found it in her family, friends, support groups, her faith, and Albie Aware.
Breast Cancer Strikes Anyone
Melody is married to a loving and supportive husband and has four daughters, ages 3 to 13. She is only 43 years old with lots of life left to live, so giving up was not an option! She is also healthy and athletic, having played basketball in college and earning a degree in kinesiology at Cal State East Bay. She wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for breast cancer, but as Albie Aware knows all too well, the disease can strike anyone, young or old, active or sedentary, female or male.
Melody is fortunate to have a network of supporters, which is so important for breast cancer patients and survivors. She is established in her community of Lincoln, having lived there for 12 years. She is also a busy woman, juggling her life as a wife, mom, and substitute teacher, while taking credentialing classes to become a full-time teacher.
Treatment Decisions Made Quickly
Her diagnosis came in 2016 when she found a lump on her breast. A checkup was soon followed by a biopsy. She was diagnosed as Stage 2A, which describes an invasive cancer of a certain size that involves the lymph nodes. She was fearful, but knew she had to make quick decisions.
Melody’s cancer was “triple negative,” a very aggressive form of the disease. While it seemed to be only her right breast that was affected, Melody decided to play it safe and have a double mastectomy. Contributing to her decision is a family history of cancer. She says, “I have an aunt that died of breast cancer and her daughter – my cousin – is a breast cancer survivor. My mom is a colon cancer survivor.”
Her sister, extended family, and friends rallied around her raising funds, providing food, and helping her family out with gifts. She says, “It felt like my birthday or Christmas. People sent me things daily to help during chemo. It was amazing!”
Albie Aware Provides Information and Support
With bills already beginning to mount, and insurance denying some claims, Melody’s sister-in-law reached out to Albie Aware to see what assistance they could provide. Of course, Albie Aware jumped right in to help sort out her difficulties. Staff members also spent time discussing nutrition with her and how important it is to eat healthy, especially during treatment. “I always thought of myself as a somewhat healthy eater,” Melody reflects. “But I know now, I could do a lot better. I’m so grateful for those discussions.”
Melody’s initial chemo was aggressive. The cocktail is referred to as AC or the “infamous” Red Devil. She endured that for four weeks and then went on to another type of chemo for an additional 12 weeks. Several lymph nodes were removed, resulting in lymphedema a common side effect that occurs when lymph nodes are damaged or removed. “Lymphedema causes a lot of discomfort and my hand and arm became extremely swollen,” Melody recalls. “Albie aware stepped right up again by arranging a fitting and paying for a compression sleeve and glove.”
Sacramento Kings Mother’s Day Clinic
Melody is now in remission and is looking forward to having five years behind her. Through Albie Aware, she and her family participated in the Sacramento Kings Mother’s Day basketball clinic the past two years. “When Albie Aware first contacted me, I thought – basketball is me and with my kids – I am so there!”, she says. “It has been the best experience.” This year she brought her oldest three daughters and her nephew.
Her six-year-old daughter, Alexa, was determined to make a basket during a “parent against kids” drill. Lorraine Fox (mother of Kings star De’Aaron Fox) told her to never give up. With De’Aaron Fox right there encouraging her, she finally made a basket after more than 40 attempts. The crowd went wild.
Melody credits her recovery to all the loving support she has received from her Cancer Cares Support Group, the Bayside Church Cancer Support Group, her family, friends, faith, and Albie Aware. Each had a major role in helping her through her ordeal.
She says, “If you do have breast cancer, there’s always hope. Remember to keep the hope. If you give up on hope, you give up. I’m a believer and God was a big part of this process for me.”
As Lorraine Fox said, “Never give up!” Great advice.