Still Holding My Hand


“I was the first one in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer,” recalls Charisse Enrique, who had calcifications when she went in for her first mammogram at 40. “So every six months I would go in for a mammogram, and a year a half later, I got an ultrasound. That was it. I felt so emotional. The doctor said, ‘We’ve done this before, and we’re going to hold your hand.’ At home, you have to put on a strong face and be positive, but I could talk to my oncologists about my fears. Every step of the way, UCLA Health felt like a safe place.”

Charisse had a lumpectomy and then chemo, with a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction after. “I had a 16-hour surgery. I drove myself to radiation, and I looked forward to it. Every day that I came here was a chance to fight. I’m in my fourth year of remission now, and I’m so thankful for the Santa Monica Breast Center. You would think after the treatments are done, they would wash their hands of you, but they’re still holding my hand today. I love UCLA.”

Learn more about the UCLA Breast Health Center: