On the Real Housewives of New Jersey, Amber Marchese celebrated reaching her five-year cancer-free mark. But the reality star recently discovered that she would have to gear up for another battle, as the disease has returned in the same breast.
“I can’t even begin to describe the feeling you get when someone says you have cancer,” the Bravo star told People. “Then to get it again after you thought you fought it and thought it was behind you… I was thinking, ‘This is definitely it. I’m going to die.’”
Amber was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer in her right breast in 2009. After undergoing a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, she was cancer-free. “I thought, you remove it, you go through the harsh treatments, and you move on,” she explained. “So I was shocked. Everyone is shocked.”
Amber felt the lump while watching a movie with her husband Jim Marchese on April 3. “I have no idea what made me do this, but I reached my arms over my head and touched my right breast and felt it,” she said. “It was hard. It was pea-sized. And I just knew. My heart just sank.
The new tumor is in the middle of where her other two were. “The percentage of it returning is very small, less than 5 perfect. I just fell into that category. I wasn’t so lucky,” she explained. “This is not common. I want people to understand that. My case is not the average case.”
Although the 37-year-old’s oncologist does not believe the cancer has spread, Amber will get an MRI of her brain and chest to make sure. “I'm going to have an additional surgery to remove the remaining breast tissue with clean margins," she explained. "I'm going to be on radiation five days a week for five weeks. The doctor is putting me on five different drugs, including Herceptin."
As Amber prepares to undergo treatment, she is looking to God for support. “Once I pray, it's such a comfort,” she shared. “It's like a blanket – like God is wrapping his arms around you and is saying, 'It's going to be okay. Don't get caught up in these worldly fears. I have you.'"
But the RHONJ star isn’t letting the cancer stop her from continuing her everyday routine. “I have children, and my children can't see worry on my face,” Amber said. “You just have to go on with everyday life. I always say, it's not a matter of if something is going to happen, it's a matter of how we handle it. I feel at peace. I feel determined. I feel like everything is going to be okay."