When Becky Eastep found a knot in her breast, she hoped it would go away. Instead, it started hurting. She managed the pain until she qualified for financial assistance with Harris Health System.
Oncologists at Harris Health Smith Clinic ordered mammograms, an ultrasound and a biopsy. The news wasn’t good — stage III cancer.
“I was scared to death,” Becky remembers. “My heart fell. I never expected to get sick. I’m always the caregiver. Then I got mad. I said, ‘I’m the boss of this. I’m going to win.’”
Becky cared for her father while he had cancer. She helps her mother with health problems. And she has seen Peri, her husband, through several surgeries and dialysis.
“She has an undying spirit,” Peri says about Becky. “She’s very compassionate. She doesn’t see all she does for other people. No matter how sick she is, she never misses work. She’s tougher than a $2 steak.”
At the time of this interview, Becky had completed chemotherapy and was scheduled for surgery. “I’m scared,” she said, “but ready for it. Dealing with cancer is all new to me. I have to take it in. I have to keep moving.”
And move, she does. A school bus driver for Pasadena ISD, Becky doesn’t miss a shift, even during summer school. When she isn’t at work, she wants to be outside working in her yard. She sees activity as the key. “Stay active, it keeps your mind occupied.”
Becky has learned a lot from dealing with cancer. “I’ve learned that people take life for granted. I’ve learned just how powerful I can be. And I’ve learned how many people care for me.”
She sees a lot of caring throughout Harris Health. “I have excellent doctors. The nurses and technicians are really nice. Everyone cares. They all remember my name and that means a lot.”
The Eastep family is dedicated to bringing attention to breast cancer. Pink is the family color. They wear pink clothes. A nephew sports a pink mohawk. Peri has a pink beard.
“It gets a lot of attention,” Peri says. “I mean for it to. When people ask about it, I tell them I want every woman to have a mammogram. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. I just never thought it would be us.”