(Sierra wrote this) You always hear about Breast Cancer awareness, but I’m not sure many people actually know what that really, truly means. Here’s a glimpse into what my life has been like for the past 6 months… I’m tired. Some days, I physically and mentally do not feel like getting out of bed. I’m in pain… Despite the medications I’m taking. I’m so sad for the things I am missing out on in life at such a young age. Most of you would think I’m crazy, but I hate that I’m missing out on work, school, and taking care of things for my family and just being able to do regular, normal things without interruption. As most of you know, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) in November of 2018 at 24 years old. This is due to a genetic mutation I have of the BRCA1 gene that runs in my family. I underwent all the recommended treatment and then some. Yes, I did the 16 rounds of grueling IV chemotherapy. Yes, I had the double mastectomy to remove my cancer ridden breasts and surrounding lymph nodes. Yes, I had 33 rounds of radiation to my chest. Yes, I had breast reconstruction surgery to slowly start piecing back together everything cancer has taken from me. Yes, I took 6 months of oral chemotherapy. Then life went on. It went on really well for awhile. All signs pointed towards remission and a life free of cancer. I began school at The University of Texas at Austin to become a Nurse Practitioner and I was regaining control of my life. But it still wasn’t enough. I have been putting off sharing this for so many reasons, but mainly because no one ever wants to speak this as their truth or for these words to cross their lips with tear-filled eyes. No one wants to ever talk about what I’m going through, and what so many others are going through. Unfortunately in January 2021, I was diagnosed with stage 4, Metastatic Triple Negative Breast Cancer (MTNBC). Aggressive. Incurable. Terminal. Lethal. The deadly kind. The kind that has spread outside my breast area and into my bones, specifically my hips, pelvis, and spine. It has also spread into my skin and lymph nodes. I’ve been told this is better than the disease spreading to my vital organs, but that’s just it, is eventually it will. It just hasn’t yet, but hopefully this buys me some time. Time to reflect and time to spend with my loved ones. Time. All I want is time. Isn’t that what we all want? Endless time. Since I’ve already undergone the standard treatment for the type of cancer I have, the options now are fairly limited. The tumors in my bones tested negative for PD-L1, which would have allowed me to be a candidate for immunotherapy, a well proven therapy that uses ones own immune system to attack the cancer cells. Since my tumors do not possess this expression, the options are even more limited. There’s clinical trials, which are just that, trials with no proven results. There’s targeted therapy, which is limited for my type of cancer. There’s standard therapies approved for MTNBC until I run out of options. Then there’s non-standard therapies that have no proof of positive outcomes. It’s going to be an ongoing fight to find the best treatment and then the next one until they stop working. So all this to say… I’m currently enrolled in a clinical trial for a PARP inhibitor medication called AZD5305 at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX that is supposed to interfere with the DNA replication of the cancer cells and target the gene mutation that I have to control my disease. I have been on the trial since March of 2021. My blood counts have been too low to take the medication and continue on. I’ve had to have four blood transfusions since starting the clinical trial due to low blood counts. Recently, my last scan showed progression to my liver, right femur, ribs, and more skin so they are stopping the clinical trial and will see how my physician in Dallas wants to proceed. If I could ask for anything, in addition to your thoughts, prayers, good vibes, encouragement, check ins, etc. it would be to ask those of you that are able to go and donate blood as there is a severe shortage. Also, go follow @scentsbysierra on Instagram and buy a candle when I start selling!