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Dora Ottati

Dora Ottati’s journey with Stage III breast cancer has taken her from devastation to gratitude.

When she first felt a lump in her left breast, her husband was more concerned than she, but once she had a mammogram and biopsy, that changed. Her cancer was aggressive.

“I was devastated. I thought it was the end of my life. When the doctor told me it was not a death sentence, I felt a little better.”

She clung to the Bible verse that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

At Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, Dora had tests “from head to toe.” The tests confirmed the cancer was confined to her left breast and lymph nodes.

“Once I got to LBJ, I felt better,” she remembers. “Someone was taking care of me. I love that about the hospital. They treated me with love and smiles. I was part of the medical team, and it was a big team.”

Dora had five months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy of her left breast. She went to Smith Clinic for a month of radiation therapy. She loved both places.

“When I finished chemo, I cried because I wouldn’t see the staff again. They treated me like family. My doctor is awesome. I love to go to Smith Clinic too. When you’re sick, especially with cancer, you need hugs and love and to hear that everything will be okay. I got that. At Smith and LBJ, I could forget I had cancer.”

Dora made many lifestyle changes. She eats no red meat, drinks green tea and water, eats more fruits and vegetables. She loves to be outside and walks three times a week. She prays often.

Her advice for others with cancer: “Have faith. Look for friends who can be supportive and are willing to help. Let them help. Follow the doctor’s recommendations. Be happy. Dance. Be positive. Look for light — it’s there.

“On this side of treatment, I see my life differently. I see trees and the sun differently. I hug my husband and boys and tell them I love them more often. Everything is more important now.

“I love my new hair, my new skin. This is my new body, and I love it.”