Ricca’s Story

Site created on December 6, 2019

Breast Cancer does not discriminate. 33 years old and I will start this fight! This is my journey. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Ricca McGowan

When I was in college, they had a program called International Service Projects (ISP). The goal was to get students to sign up, raise funds and go to a different part of the world on short mission trips to show God’s love through service. I had friends who had gone and came back changed after visiting parts of Africa, Asia, south America or Europe. They spoke about how amazing it was to experience another culture. So, I decided to sign up believing whole heartedly that I was meant to go to somewhere like Switzerland. You signed up and began “training”, and raised your money before you knew where you were going. I remember we had a simulation weekend meant to show us what could be like to be immersed in another culture to reduce the culture shock we could experience. One of the activities was dinner to demonstrate what it could be like in a country with a caste system where a select few were upper class and got a 4-course meal. The next group were middle or working class and got beans and rice. The other group was lower class and we didn’t get a meal, instead sat at the feet of those who did hoping to get tossed a plate of rice or beans. I didn’t mind it because I knew in the end, I would be going to Switzerland so I could endure this for an evening. The next day we were required to wear skirts, long sleeve shirts, and head coverings in like 90-degree weather. Everywhere we went we had to walk behind the men and weren’t allowed to sit up front for worship. This was to show what the expectation would be if we were sent to a Muslim country. Again, I was annoyed but ok with it. As the time for the big reveal of our country came, I spoke to people who told me to drop expectations because you never know where you will be sent. I remember praying the day of the big reveal, “God send me anywhere but china. I simply cannot pee in a hole”. Guess how thrilled I was when we opened the envelope revealing just that. I would be heading to China that summer.

            Since then I have had several occasions where I have said, “God I will do what you want, just don’t let it be ______” and guess what always ends up happening. I try not to do that anymore, but on occasion I have forgotten. With this trial, I knew I wanted to contribute to the science and research to help those who have breast cancer after me, but I wanted the easy way out. This time it was God, I will do this trial, but let me be one of the participants who don’t receive the drug. 9 months was a lot, but going another year getting treatment every 2 weeks? Not sure I can do that. I did 16 chemos, not sure I could do 26 more treatments. Well, apparently, I can, and will. Many have been asking what was happening with the trial and I got a call today saying I was randomly selected for the drug. It was a 50/50 chance so I knew it was possible, but I was really hoping it wouldn’t be so.

            Next week I will go in for my first treatment and will finish September 2021. The good thing about it all is I will be closely watched and meet with the oncologist every 2 weeks instead of 6 month check-ups. I am ok with it. I met someone else who had finished her year last week and she said it was ok. They have not figured out what causes or feeds the breast cancer I had, but this treatment is supposed to boost your immune system to recognize and fight it should the cancer cells try to return so if it works it is a win for women who have triple negative breast cancer and that is ok with me.

            Should anything significant happen, I will let yall know, but if not, you shall hear from me again in March with a 6 month update!

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