“I feel very blessed that I have a second chance. Not everyone does.”
Virginia Sosa begins discussions of her breast cancer by first emphasizing the positive. “It was a hard experience, but God gave me the strength to get through it and the opportunity to appreciate every little thing. Medication helps, but faith helps too.”
Virginia was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in June 2010. Once her doctor questioned a lump in her breast, she was scheduled for a mammogram, a biopsy and surgery—all within one month. When she started chemotherapy, she lost her hair and dealt with depression.
At the suggestion of friends, Virginia had genetic testing that revealed she is at a higher cancer risk than most people. She chose to have preventive surgery to remove her other breast, as well as her uterus and ovaries. She has since had reconstructive surgery.
“Everything is better than before,” she says. “I wasn’t healthy. I was tired all the time. Now I take care of myself, and I’m a totally different person. I’m grateful for simple things. I’m more humble. I realize I need people. And I treat people better. I’m calmer. I take one thing at the time.”
Virginia is also a busy person, maintaining two part-time jobs: she’s a supervisor for a freight company and a clerk in a retail store. And she raises three daughters.
She can’t say enough nice things about Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital where she received all her care.
“It was wonderful. Everybody was so supportive. They care. I appreciate what they did for me and what they do for other women. They’re part of my family now. I recommend the hospital to people all the time.
“I appreciate the hospital’s support group too. It helped me know that I wasn’t the only person in this situation. At first, my cancer was hard for my daughters, but they attended a family support group at the hospital. LBJ took care of my whole family.”