Meet Jocelyn Caraballo

When I was 24 years old I was first diagnosed with liposarcoma. It all started with a regular annual visit to the gynecologist. During the breast exam my Dr. seemed concerned with a lump in my left breast and referred me to get it checked. I wasn’t concerned at all because I’ve always had “lumpy breast” since the age of 16. I was young and I didn’t have any insurance so I completely ignored her concerns. Six months later the “lump” grew to the size of an apple or an orange. I was really concerned at this point. It took over 2 weeks for my biopsy results. I was told I had a rare cancer called liposarcoma and it was a high grade tumor in my left breast. The next step was to immediately schedule surgery to remove the tumor. After surgery I did 6 weeks of radiation therapy. Scans every 3 months showed that the cancer was gone so we scheduled for reconstruction surgery. During the reconstruction process I developed a bad infection in my chest. That caused for surgery and delayed reconstruction. While I was recovering from that I found a lump on my chest. It was during the holidays so none of my Dr.s were at the hospital. I described the lump to one of my Dr.s over the phone and he said it could be scarred tissue from the recent surgeries. The lump continued to grow and it was growing fast. At 26 I was diagnosed with liposarcoma for the second time. I had a high grade tumor in my chest near my sternum bone and 1/2 inch away from my heart. I had to have surgery for the 4th time in 14 months. Followed by more radiation therapy and this time chemotherapy. I did a really strong chemotherapy that required me to spend 5 days in the hospital at a time. I finished chemo the end of June 2013 and scans show that the cancer is gone. I continue to get scans every 3 months since there’s a high risk of a return.

After learning I had a rare cancer the first thing I did was google it. There were a bunch a horror stories online and I knew that couldn’t be the case for everyone. There were no support groups or anything for liposarcoma. I went on Instagram and found the Wendy Walk. I think the only foundation dedicated to liposarcoma. I was so happy and excited and immediately wanted to attend one of the walks.

I think it’s important for young adults to be aware of their bodies and go get checked if you feel something strange. I didn’t have breast cancer but I had cancer in my breast. I don’t want young females to assume they cannot get breast cancer because of their age. Cancer does not have an age. After many surgeries and many changes to my body I am still very active. I love to workout, dance Zumba, play basketball, ride bikes and basically any activity that gets my heart going. I don’t let anything limit me and I’m not afraid of anything. I encourage young adults to be aware of their bodies, be active  and don’t let cancer or anything limit your happiness.