by Jonathan Oggero
Breast cancer is a prevalent topic in today’s culture, having taken the lives of many women and even men in our community, country and world in the last decade.
Not only is this terrible illness the most common cancer among women in the United States, it is also one of the leading causes of death.
Assistant to the Athletic Director Madelyn Garza is currently undergoing the later process of breast cancer treatment.
On July 15, 2010, Garza was diagnosed with a non-aggressive form of breast cancer.
Just like every women is different, every form of breast cancer is different.
“Fortunately, my cancer was slow growing,” Garza said.
Thankfully, that gave the doctors more time to determine the treatment she needed.
After the diagnosis, Garza became a part of the Texas Oncology research team headed by Dr. Frankie Holmes.
The treatment method used on patients that were a part of this team was use of estrogen blockers rather than chemotherapy. Garza was the ideal patient for this program because her type of cancer grew as a result of estrogen production.
This treatment required only a daily medicine and a shot every month.
The goal of this treatment is to shrink the cancer prior to the mastectomy, which is the removal of one or both breasts.
Garza underwent her mastectomy on December 6, 2010.
From January to April 2011, she was treated with chemotherapy.
The next stage in cancer recovery is radiation, which she underwent from March to July 1.
This brings Garza’s inspiring recovery story to where it is now.
Currently she is back on estrogen blockers and has to attend a check-up every three months.
She attributes her health and safe recovery to one thing, her faith in God throughout the entire ordeal.
“Having faith and prayer is the main solution,” Garza said. “Leaving everything in God’s hands got me through it all.”
Garza, however, is only one example of the strength it takes to overcome adversity.
In November 2005, Assistant Principal Chris Westman was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Unfortunately, the cancer was approximately two and a half inches long, so chemotherapy began in the next month, right before Christmas.
In June 2006, she underwent a partial mastectomy, and after attending check-ups every three and six months, Westman is currently going to the doctor annually.
“I attribute my recovery to the prayer and support of my family, friends and the St. Thomas community,” Westman said. “Healthy living such as eating right and exercising also has helped.”
Even during six months of chemotherapy Westman missed minimal days of work.
“Everyone experiences some type of adversity,” Westman said. “It’s not what happens to us; it’s how we deal with it.”