When were you diagnosed and at what age?
Mely: I was diagnosed on Dec 6th, 2021 at 39 years old.
What stage were you diagnosed with?
Mely: I was initially a stage 2, then after more exams, I was a stage 3 as it had spread to my chest wall. I was devastated.
How was the cancer initially detected?
Mely: I started experiencing some pain on my left breast after I had stopped breastfeeding my 3rd baby for 13 months. It was just a sharp pain that wouldn’t go away, so I went to get checked right away. I never felt a lump until the day I was already on the ultrasound bed after my mammogram. It had spread very quickly as I was diagnosed with Triple Positive Breast Cancer – a very aggressive and fast growing type. I’m glad I advocated for myself and acted fast.
Is there a family history of breast cancer?
Mely: No. And I don’t carry the BRCA gene either.
How did you feel when you found out?
Mely: I was in shock. I had just set foot at the LA Airport, I was going on a trip to Napa with my siblings and 2 of my girlfriends. I received the phone call and I remember everything became foggy. I couldn’t feel anything. I felt numb. I could not believe this was happening to me, you always hear these stories but never imagine it would be you one day. It is so surreal.
What have been the hardest obstacles you’ve overcome since diagnosis?
Mely: Fighting to NOT be defined by this disease. During my whole treatment (I did 4 months of chemo, a double mastectomy and 30 days of radiation) I would still get up, do my makeup and get dressed up to go out and continue to live and enjoy my life. I cold capped so I was able to preserve my hair and that helped me tell my story in my own terms. I feel like I overcame the stereotype of what a cancer patient looks like and that has been so empowering. Looking beautiful and feeling beautiful helped me fight this fight so differently, because mentally, I felt strong too. Half the battle is in your mind – once you’ve won that, you’ve already WON.
What makes you feel beautiful when you’re getting ready?
Mely: A cute outfit, putting on my makeup and just knowing that my beauty truly shines from within.
“Looking beautiful and feeling beautiful helped me fight this fight so differently, because mentally, I felt strong too. Half the battle is in your mind – once you’ve won that, you’ve already WON.”-MELY
What’s most important to you when it comes to bra fit?
Mely: I had a double mastectomy with expanders and I will be having an exchange surgery soon, so I love a mix of comfy & sexy! Makes me feel so feminine.
Did you use a Soma bra for post surgery or during treatment? If so, which one?
Mely: I did! I used the Soma Enbliss Wireless bra and I loved it because it was so soft with good support – exactly what I needed while I was healing.
What message would you want to give other women experiencing this?
Mely: First I would say: You are not alone. There are many of us fighting this fight. Find your tribe! We are part of a club we never wanted to be, but it is a beautiful community where you will find so much love and support. I will also say: This is just a part of your story, not your whole story. You are NOT defined by what happens to you, but how you react to it. It’s ok to cry, to be angry and scared… let it all out, but then get back up again. At the beginning of my journey I kept asking “Why me?”, and then I understood it was really: “What for”…Find your purpose through the pain and everything will change.
Mely and Soma style expert Brandi Mercado went live on instagram earlier this week to share Mely’s story. If you missed it, check out the inspiring interview below.