Paula Daniel has been married to Mitch for 25 years. She’s a dedicated preschool teacher and caseworker, and she’s been a Head Start teacher for 23 years. She’s a proud mom of two boys. And, a thankful survivor of two bouts with breast cancer.
In November 2003, at age 41, Paula found a lump deep in her left breast during a self-exam. She always had a concern for ovarian cancer, since her mom died at 60 and her grandmother at 45 from that disease. So, facing breast cancer was a surprise, although not surprising considering the documented connections between breast and ovarian cancers.
Following a mammogram and biopsy at the Samaritan Breast Center that confirmed the cancer, she had a lumpectomy in December 2003, followed by a successful round of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
After more than two years living cancer-free, in May 2007, Paula found another lump in her right breast, which was revealed to be the same type of cancer as before. This prompted her to get the genetic test for a mutated breast cancer gene; she tested positive for BRCA2.
This positive test confirmed that Paula was at extremely high-risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer, with a high likelihood of a recurrence. As a precaution, she proactively elected to have both a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy in 2008.
When asked if she regrets her decision, Paula says, “No. In fact, I deal with stress a lot better now.” Now healthy and happy, through it all, she has kept a positive attitude. “If I can help someone get through what I went through and survive, I’m glad to.”