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Jennifer Batugo-Gargano
My Unexpected Journey with Angiosarcoma

MyLifeLine Stories of Inspiration and Hope

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Whether you’re a newly diagnosed cancer patient, caregiver, or loved one, discover insights that inspire through shared wisdom that comes from having ‘been there.’

My Story

Last updated: Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hello everyone,

My name is Jenn and I was recently diagnosed with angiosarcoma of the breast on March 22, 2013. I\'m employed with Cedars-Sinai in West Hollywood and will also be a new cancer patient to be treated right next door at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. The reason why I\'m telling my story is because I\'m having a very difficult time understanding the \"how, what, why, when, where, and now what\" questions, as well as finding a way to communicate with other cancer victims and my loved ones. 

Last year, I had noticed a minor enlargement of my right breast, which after my first ultrasound-guided biopsy turned out to be a hemangioma (benign). Unfortunately after a few weeks, it developed into a hematoma which I had evacuated in September 2012. I thought everything would be better since the results were benign. My breast was too inflamed at the time of surgery and I just had a little over half a liter of blood removed so my surgeon didn\'t want to take \"healthy\" breast tissue since my most recent results were ok. A few months passed and I started noticing my right breast getting bigger again... Except this time, I started developing chills, increased warmth, size, and tenderness of breast. So I reported it and my surgeon scheduled me for a breast biopsy. When I was brought in to follow up with the surgeon after my surgery that i had on March 19, 2013... I never thought it\'d be bad news. I thought I was called in for a routine follow up dressing change and JP drain removal. My doctor walks in and I\'m telling her how great I feel... No nausea and very little pain... She sits down and says,\"I\'m sorry to say, it isn\'t good.\" Needless to say, I froze and gave my doc a blank stare... After I got the news and my doc left the room, I burst into tears and my fiancé at the time, Brian, quickly stood up and hugged me tight and was just as confused and angry as I was. The most difficult part of this for me was... having to break the news to my parents. 

I\'m an only child who was raised by two wonderful parents. I did pretty good... I\'m known for being bubbly, helpful, and a go-getter. I was recently engaged and my fiancé and I had already chosen where to have the wedding ceremony and venue. I enjoyed my jobs and the coworkers I had the honor of working with. Now... I\'ve applied for disability so I can undergo tests, chemotherapy, more surgeries, and radiation. Since I work around sick people all day, my MDs have advised me to stop work for now. I\'ve had many relatives and friends come to visit me... I get hundreds of texts, calls, prayer intentions, and emails... I feel overwhelmed, loved, blessed, but the fear and sadness is new. Anxiety keeps me up... I can\'t believe everything is happening so slow and fast at the same time. So much invested in a girl like me... only to find I have a rare, aggressive-type cancer with a poor prognosis. I feel hopeless, but I\'ve put on the brave, optimistic, smiley exterior people know me to have... but how to keep it up?!! My parents now tell me to enjoy today and forget about my worries... I guess the advice changes when the circumstances change too.

Brian and I got married on April 21, 2013 and were blessed by so many wonderful people who put the intimate ceremony and reception together for us. We do intend on having a church wedding when I\'ve surpassed my treatments and surgeries. I thank God for the opportunity to fight these challenges. Thank you all for opening my eyes and letting me inspire others in return. 

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