Pushing Forward Through Advanced Cancer
- Dorita Donne, 32, was told the lump in her breast was just a benign cyst. One year later, she was diagnosed with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, or stage 4 cancer.
- The breast cancer thriver lives at home with her partner of six years, Ester Sanna Ferraiolo, whom she met when she managed one of famed, TV Chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants.
- While there is technically no cure for metastatic breast cancer, there are a wide variety of treatment options used to battle the disease including hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, immunotherapy and a combination of various treatments.
Having had to step down from her management job at one of famed TV Chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants in London, Dorita is receiving care and support at home from her girlfriend, Ester Sanna Ferraiolo. The pair, who met while working at the establishment, intend to marry very soon despite the tragic cancer diagnosis.Read More
“I am afraid of death as there are still so many things to do and an entire life to live,” she admits to the outlet, noting that she just could not believe her supposed cysts wound up being late-stage cancer. “It was surreal news. Unbelievable.”
Even worse, Dorita did not find out about her cancer until one year after she initially went in for a breast lump.
By that time, she was told it had spread to her pancreas, liver, and lymph nodes.
“I could not even attend my own father’s funeral,” she said, explaining that her father sadly passed away from intestinal cancer the day she started chemotherapy. “You can imagine how much pain I was feeling those days and how heartbroken I was and am still.”
Her partner Ester added how devastating the situation is for the young couple.
“Misdiagnosis has ruined Dorita’s life at the age of 32; her ambitions, her dreams – but also my life has changed and the life of all people who love us,” she said.
“When she was diagnosed, she was so stressed that she began fainting in the house. I had to pick her up from the shower once.”
Despite the fear and sadness during this terrifying time, Dorita and Ester are simply not giving up.
“We remain focused on finding anything in the world that might turn out to be the cure,” Ester shared, noting that she started a fundraising page to help them live as comfortably as possible. Additionally, they hope to be able to afford a line of treatment that could be promising for Dorita.
“In addition to using the money for treatment, I also want to make Dorita happy. I’ve asked her to start putting together a bucket list, and there are many places she wants to see and restaurants she wants to visit.”
“We have many dreams together,” she continued. “One of them, which she also put on her bucket list, is for us to get married. I would like to see her happy after all of this pain.”
Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer —also called stage 4 breast cancer—means that the cancer has spread, or metastasized, beyond the breasts to other parts of the body. It most commonly spreads to the bones, liver and lungs, but it may also spread to the brain or other organs.
Triple negative breast cancer means that your cancer is not being fueled by any of the three main types of receptors—estrogen, progesterone nor the Her2 protein. Because of this, the cancer won’t respond to certain targeted therapies. Chemotherapy is typically the treatment and there are several options.
If the cancer is advanced, like with Dorita’s health condition, your doctor may also recommend participation in a clinical trial that involves immunotherapy or targeted therapies.
It is important to know that here are so many breast cancer survivors and people living with advanced disease today.
And while there is technically no cure for metastatic breast cancer, as we mentioned, there are a wide variety of treatment options used to battle the disease including hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, immunotherapy and a combination of various treatments.
With advanced disease, the goal of treatment is to keep you as stable as possible, slow the tumor growth and improve your quality of life.