Amber Marchese has already beaten breast cancer once. But after discovering another lump and confirming that the mass was cancerous, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star admits that it was something she wasn’t prepared to hear for a second time.
”I can’t even begin to describe the feeling you get when someone says you have cancer,” she tells 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.’”
Five years ago Amber underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy after a Stage 1 diagnosis, and says that after all of the precautionary measures it is unusual for the return of the disease. “This is not common. I want people to understand that,” she says. “My case is not the average case.”
"You have a double mastectomy and chemotherapy to stack all the odds in your favor so that there is no recurrence,” she explains. “The percentage of it recurring is very small, less than 5 percent. I just fell into that category. I wasn’t so lucky.”
During a casual night at home watching a movie with her husband, Amber suddenly reached her arms over her head and unintentionally touched her right breast finding a hard, pea-sized lump. “And I just knew,” she says. “My heart just sank.”
She’s vowed to “go forward like Superwoman,” and despite her unusual situation is still encouraging women facing cancer to undergo mastectomies. “I don’t ever want to deter women from getting a mastectomy,” she says. “I don’t want women to say, ‘Well, she had a mastectomy. What’s the point of getting a mastectomy if it doesn’t work?’”
”That’s a very dangerous message to get out,” she explains. “I hear it all the time. ‘You got a double mastectomy. How did it not work?’ My case is not the norm. Do what’s right for you.”