How evidence and trust helped Pepi make the best choices
Although she’s not a radiation therapist, Pepi Rivera knows which type of treatment she would likely recommend to someone with breast cancer
“This is bad, isn’t it,” Pepi recounts telling the clinician when receiving the results of her mammogram. She says she already knew the outcome. “I’d previously been treated for another tumor and knew something could be malignant. So, I almost diagnosed myself actually.”
Sadly, she was right. The tumor in her breast was cancerous, but her treatment would be quite different from before. “I was offered the option of brachytherapy. My radiation oncologist explained to me how it would be better or the same as having a mastectomy. They provided me with data showing how this could be very positive for me and I totally accepted it. I trusted the data.”
“There wasn’t really any pain, no redness of the skin or discomfort and I wasn’t hindered from doing anything. And it was all done in just five days.”
She says that brachytherapy was a massive improvement over chemotherapy and surgery, though she required a course of chemo even this time as well. Once the treatment was over, she took a shower the next day. “There wasn’t really any pain, no redness of the skin or discomfort and I wasn’t hindered from doing anything. And it was all done in just five days. For these reasons, I’d definitely recommend brachytherapy,” she adds.
“My life is returning back to normal – I’m not letting the disease hold me back,” Pepi says. She has renewed her social relationships, kept her mind active with work, and continued dreaming. This she can do from the beach at her house just north of Barcelona.
Pepi Rivera in a nutshell
- 53 years old
- Lives in Spain
- Married to Miguel, an industrial electronics engineer
- They have two children
- And two cats