A mom of two, the wife of a police officer, and a proud business owner, Adina had a full plate of responsibilities: Managing A Perfect Day—her wedding planning and event coordination company and a shocking, stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis.
“In the past, I’ve had cysts. So, when I found a lump in my left breast, I didn’t think much of it,” Adina explained. “I had a primary care appointment when I figured I would mention it.” Adina’s doctor suggested that she go for her very first mammogram. But, what Adina didn’t know was that day would change her life forever.
At the height of wedding season, Adina was in the midst of finalizing three events she had that weekend, and the two she had for the following. “In fact, I almost didn’t make my appointment in time,” she recalled. “The first set of images went great - minimal pain, minimal worry. But, when I was called in a second time for more images, and then a third time, I knew this was no longer an ordinary day.”
The mammogram had detected a solid mass, not a fluid-filled cyst as she had anticipated. Adina was instructed to have a biopsy immediately. “I distinctly remember the words, “do not wait.” As tears rolled down her cheeks, and thoughts of the unknown came to mind, there was one thing Adina knew for certain, she was going to battle locally advanced breast cancer with a badass, positive attitude.
That weekend, Adina was wrapped up in love, happiness, and details. While couples commemorated their marriage with, “I Do’s”- Adina was adding doctor appointments and surgeries to her to-do’s. Less than a month from that dreadful day, Adina underwent a double mastectomy. From that point forward, New York Cancer & Blood Specialists became her home for the next 16 weeks. From chemotherapy to reconstructive surgery, to radiation, and a hysterectomy, hiding behind the diagnosis was not in her cards.
Her next concern was figuring out how she would tell 6-year-old Luca and 4-year-old Lorenzo about the challenges that she was about to face. Her children are clearly the center of her world.“We just tried to talk to them like little adults, saying it in words they’d understand, making it known that it’s very serious, but mommy would get through it while letting them ask as many questions as they needed,” she said. “There are books that I read to them that explained cancer, and I even found a Pacman video that used the analogy for cancer cells.”
So, when Adina’s hair began to fall out, her boys knew her chemotherapy was working. Adina took the initiative to shave her own head and decided to have fun with it. She wore multiple hairstyles with confidence from a pink mohawk to wigs. “I’m not ashamed. I’m proud,” she expressed. “My life has still changed and I am still living with the fear of the future but I am grateful.”
Because of the hand that she was dealt with, she now has the opportunity to share her story, in hopes that it helps someone in need. Adina now participates in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk with her team, Adina’s Angels where she had the very special honor of speaking at the Long Island East End event.
After eight rounds of chemotherapy, Adina threw a “No Mo’ Chemo” party. “I changed my mindset and the outcome is more positive. I put out love, I gave thanks, and I expressed appreciation. I got back more love, thanks, and appreciation.”
Imagining a world where she can help plan her son’s future weddings, Adina celebrates her ‘cancerversary.’ Now in the driver’s seat of her own journey, she’s dedicated to supporting and raising the voices of women who find themselves in similar shoes.
Women all over the community are seeing a piece of them in a woman like Adina, and that kind of influence is paramount in what we need to continue this future of badass women conquering cancer. Between innovative and advanced treatments and compassionate physicians like the staff at New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, women have more hope than ever.
WE ARE THE STORM, in the fight against breast cancer!