A decade ago, Rosa Lora Linares experienced breast pain with each menstrual cycle. When her left breast became enlarged, she visited her family doctor. After an ultrasound and a mammogram, she was referred to Harris Health System’s Ben Taub Hospital where she had a biopsy and learned she had stage III cancer.
Her feelings when she heard the diagnosis were “unexplainable.” It was hardest when she thought of her four young children, now ages 12 to 19. Her two middle children are autistic, and though she worried about them, she knew her sister would care for them.
Linares’ treatment started quickly: three sessions of chemotherapy, a mastectomy of her left breast, more chemo and six weeks of radiation.
“I fought, and my husband and sister helped me,” she says. “I knew my children needed me. The help of God and seeing my children got me through. That’s why I’m here today.”
Throughout her treatment and recovery, she kept her spirits up by walking, talking with other patients and survivors, and spending quality time with her family.
“Before I got to Ben Taub, a caregiver somewhere else told me, ‘You have cancer. Get over it,’ she recalls. “I decided right then that I would never let anyone make me feel bad. At Harris Health, I knew people cared about me. They were all compassionate.”
Today, she enjoys her daily routine. She wakes up at 5 a.m. to make lunch for her husband. She walks a lot and is happiest when she’s cooking for her family and friends. She continues to count her blessings and prays to be with her children until they are grown.
Linares offers words of wisdom to other cancer patients.
“Keep fighting and never give up for cancer or any other illness,” she says. “Don’t listen to negative people. Leave everything in the hands of God.”