Though the reality TV star still has a long road ahead of her, her cancer recurrence was limited to the lump she recently discovered
Starting next week, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Amber Marchese will share her journey about her second battle with cancer with a new PEOPLE blog. "I am excited to be able to have PEOPLE.com as my platform to bring everyone on my journey with me," she says. "I don’t know how or why this happened again, but I have to turn it into an opportunity to raise awareness not just about breast cancer, but about self-detection, treatment options, the importance of faith, a positive attitude, and the overall health of our bodies. I am hoping to educate and inspire others in their fight. I was blessed to find it a second time."
She adds: "I want some good to come from all of this. I know others in a similar position may be afraid, confused or lost. This will be my chance to share my story and hopefully help others along the way."
On May 18, Real Housewives of New Jersey star Amber Marchese underwent a four-hour partial mastectomy to remove potentially cancerous tissue in her right breast as part of her latest battle with the deadly disease.
Marchese’s surgical oncologist removed more than 20 millimeters of breast tissue in addition to skin adjacent to the three millimeter-cancerous tumor she had removed last month, she says.
She was more than elated this week when results from the surgery came back showing that the cancer was limited to the tumor removed last month – and that the disease has not spread.
“The surrounding tissue was not cancerous,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It was literally just the tumor that was cancerous. We caught it in the early stages.
“It is nothing short of a miracle.”
Marchese, who is still recovering, adds, “I feel great now, but I was in a lot of pain when I woke up from the surgery. I’m glad it’s over.”
She discovered the small, hard lump in her right breast April 3 and underwent a surgical biopsy April 20 to remove it and determine if it was cancerous.
Marchese had a double mastectomy in 2009, when she was first diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in her right breast.
“Even though the original diagnosis demonstrated multiple tumors the chances of it recurring were very small after treatment,” she says. “Ninety-five percent of the time, it doesn’t come back.”
So she was shocked when her surgeon told her on April 23 that yes, the cancer had returned.
“I can’t even begin to describe the feeling you get when someone says you have cancer,” she says. “Then to get it again after fighting so hard. I had several surgeries including a double mastectomy and chemotherapy along with other systemic treatments. I thought it was behind me.”
While she is relieved that the cancer has not spread, her battle is not over.
“There’s still a long road ahead of me,” she says. “I am definitely going to have radiation for the next five weeks. We are still debating whether or not to do chemotherapy.”
Still, she says she feels “lucky” that she happened to find the lump while watching TV with her husband, Jim Marchese, on Good Friday, no less.
“My doctor had thoroughly examined me for the past six years and never found anything,” she says. “I am very blessed.”