Wanda Bota celebrates survivorship with her children and extended family.
© 2011 Mark Jason Photography
Brooklyn, NY & Ponce, PR
Breast cancer survivor since 2009
What does being a Survivor mean to you?
Being a survivor means taking care of myself, as well as for others. It means taking life slow, realizing that one day comes after another. Taking things easy, not in a rush. It means eating right, making sure I visit more often with my doctor, who I rarely visited before. It means remembering past experiences that I’ve had with family members — like my mom. It also means getting as much information as I can so that I can be up-to-date and also help others understand.
How has being a Survivor affected your life?
Being a survivor has affected my life in so many ways.
Now I understand what my mother went through when she was diagnosed. My life has new meaning — I see things differently. I live day-by-day, trying to fulfill my dreams. Also when someone starts talking about cancer, I tell him or her about my experience. I now understand a lot of things thanks to the help of my family, friends, doctors and others.
Sometimes I feel like we have a sign that says we are survivors. I say this, because I have tried to meet men, and when we actually get close and tell them, it just isn’t the same. I feel they look at you differently. I could be wrong, or maybe it’s just that right man hasn’t appeared yet in my life. There is something better out there...
From the beginning, I accepted and went forward with every recommendation that my doctors made. I was never in denial. The support I received from my kids, friends, co-workers and others was so important to me. I appreciate each and every one of them. This process wouldn’t have been easy if I didn’t have their support. Till this day, I still have their support — which leaves me speechless.
I am proud to actually say that I am a cancer survivor. And telling my story does help others. When I was diagnosed, it was the day before my birthday. I thought I was going to die, and I asked my doctor: What are we going to do? He said we could operate now or wait. I said now. The doctor told me I would be out on sick leave for two months, but with his help and everyone’s support, I was able to recover and get back to work in one month. That was so important to me. I went through chemo and radiation. It wasn’t easy, at first, but I did it, always thinking about my kids.
I am happy to say I am a cancer survivor. If I did it, anyone can do it. Just don’t give up!!!