Blogs > Thriving with stage IV breast cancer by channeling my inner Kobe Bryant

Thriving with stage IV breast cancer by channeling my inner Kobe Bryant

Brinda Robin

In 2021, a routine checkup delivered a startling diagnosis: stage IIIC triple-negative breast cancer that quickly metastasized in 2022, leaving me, my family, and my friends utterly stunned. The initial question of “Why me?” transformed into my determination to redefine the new me. As someone with an attitude to adapt to change, I decided to be the strongest person you will ever meet, armed with a brilliant smile to face the challenges ahead.

I am Brinda Robin, aged 46. I was born and raised in India and moved to Austin, Texas, 19 years ago after I married my husband, Robin. Today, with our 14- and 11-year-old daughters, it feels like I never left home, and that is because of my wonderful family and friends in Austin and around the world who are making our life beautiful every day.

A year ago, I was given a prognosis of six months to live, because I had a poor response to the treatment. Despite this, I remain optimistic, delighted, and thankful to share what keeps me going. My goal is to encourage women to lean on their support system of family and friends, not feel guilty, and not give up on life and medical treatment.

After my diagnosis in 2021, the statistics about Indian women with breast cancer scared me because I fitthe mold. One in twenty-eight Indian women is likely to develop breast cancer during her lifetime. Most women in India are diagnosed premenopausal, with the peak age between 40 and 50 years old, compared to the Western World, where the peak age is between 60 and 70 years. Those early-onset diagnoses tend to be more aggressive and have a poorer outcome than breast cancers diagnosed at older ages. I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which makes up to one-third of breast cancers in India, a much higher percentage than would be expected in the West. And also unlike the West, death rates from breast cancer are increasing in India — that’s because 60% of them are diagnosed at stage III or higher. The Indian government data reflects that, on average, in 2020 four out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer died of the disease.It was even more disheartening to see how few shared their stories. That's when I decided to share my journey candidly. I want to help families like mine who do not know what to expect, where to seek more information, and most importantly, how to enable family and friends to help.

Following a year of treatment with multiple rounds of chemotherapy (AC, TC, and Carbo), immunotherapy (Keytruda), a double mastectomy, radiation, and ringing the bell, I received the terrible news that cancer had returned with a vengeance. It had spread to my liver, spine, stomach, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tube. After a hysterectomy and oophorectomy, I started my next line of treatment with a different chemotherapy medicine (Gemzar). However, my poor response to this medicine made my oncologist switch me to sacituzumab govitecan (Trodelvy), making it the third line of treatment for me.

Brinda Robin

Often, people outside the family only see the external changes one goes through during treatments. But this journey has shaken everything I valued, including my mental and physical health, impacting my family, outlook on life, finance, and beliefs.

Brinda Robin


Resilience became my partner in crime when I recognized I had a steep hill to climb. Self-awareness helped me organize my life journey with cancer by:

  1. Prioritizing, having short-term goals, and defining some coping strategies.
  2. Forming an army of cheerleaders with family and friends to vent my emotions because I realized I couldn’t do this alone — or quietly.
  3. Accepting the new normal and gradually embracing it with my family.

Going bold with my bald look was a conscious decision because enduring the internal side effects proved more challenging than losing my hair after the first round of chemo. Constipation, bone pain, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weight loss, bloating, mood swings, low white blood cell counts, skin burns, loss of appetite, and the endless list of side effects from chemo and radiation started taking a toll on me. Cancer and medications toy with anxiety, fear, depression, guilt, anger, and many more emotions that sometimes overwhelm me.

Exercise is my go-to for balancing my mental and physical health. Since exercise also stimulates my appetite, a protein-rich, no-sugar diet has helped me stay strong. With everything I endure, the mind strays between wanting to fight and giving up, leaving me sometimes feeling as if I am playing a game of ping-pong at the Olympics.

I try hard every day not to withdraw from the world. I constantly remind myself that I want to be there for my kids, husband, and family. But, more importantly, I want to experience this life that I have been gifted. I want to enjoy everything that I love, from traveling and food to music and meeting people. I’m curious about how social media, artificial intelligence, virtual wearable devices, and other innovations will transform our lives. I can't wait to see what’s in store when I beat this cancer!

Is it tough to maintain an upbeat mood? Absolutely! But I also realize that without that attitude, it won't be the cancer that kills me. I have a much better chance of betting on myself.

Cancer taught me to break free from all fears, that nothing is permanent, and to live in the present. It has taught me to negotiate with life and not just accept what comes my way. We all have an innate power that we shouldn’t be shy to show to the world. I drive around most days to loud music to comfort myself and feel free with independence. I keep my self-esteem high by biking on my Peloton every day for 6 to10 miles for the gratification of accomplishment.

As a full-time, career-driven executive in the IT industry, my time before breast cancer was spent managing work, my kids’ activities, and home. After quitting my job, I no longer waste my good days. I make time to meet with friends for lunch or coffee, cook favorite family meals with my husband, Robin, watch movies or play a game with my kids, travel, read, mentor, and so much more. The sky is the limit, and it starts with loving ourselves first.

On behalf of cancer fighters, I shamelessly request that you don’t isolate us. Keep us included by sharing what is happening in your life. Yes, our priorities might have changed, and we might not be able to relate to everything as before, but it comforts us to know that someone is thinking of us and cares enough to share.

The foundation of my relationship with Robin is built on the power of being resolutely persistent with hope. I am proud of my kids for adapting to this adverse situation and reminding us of their flexibility without confining themselves to any boundaries. With unwavering determination, we believe in ourselves, are willing to keep fighting, and know that something better is always waiting for us.

Brinda Robin and her husband in a wintery landscape


The views and opinions of our bloggers represent the views and opinions of the bloggers alone and not those of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Also understand that Living Beyond Breast Cancer does not medically review any information or content contained on, or distributed through, its blog and therefore does not endorse the accuracy or reliability of any such information or content. Through our blog, we merely seek to give individuals creative freedom to tell their stories. It is not a substitute for professional counseling or medical advice.


Related resources


Stay connected

Sign up to receive emotional support, medical insight, personal stories, and more, delivered to your inbox weekly.