Nuestras Historias Book

The Booklet

Nuestras Historias

The Nuestras Historias booklet contains English/Spanish essays by 26 Latina cancer survivors from South Texas.

The booklet was produced in 2004 by Redes En Acción, a national Latino cancer research network funded by the National Cancer Institute and based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

It is available online for free.

Nuestras Historias: 10 Years of Latina Cancer Survival

Breast cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer of Latinas.

But survival is possible.

In 2004, a group of 26 Latina cancer survivors from South Texas shared their stories to inspire hope, comfort, and resiliency in a bilingual booklet called Nuestras Historias: Mujeres Hispanas Sobreviviendo el Cáncer del Seno (Our Stories: Hispanic Women Surviving Breast Cancer).

2014 marks the booklet’s 10th anniversary.

Today, 16 of the remaining Latina survivors have new, courageous stories to tell about the importance of cancer screening and that Latinas can not only survive cancer, but thrive in the workplace, school, home, and family.

Read their stories below…

the survivors
Then
Now

Sylvia Fernández - The past is history, the future is a mystery. All we have is the present, which is a gift from the Creator.

Sylvia Fernández - Although we are never ready for a cancer diagnosis and the subsequent treatment…to me it was a gift that continues to give me opportunities to reach out to newly diagnosed patients and give them hope.

Then
Now

Meg Reyes - I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend, but most of all I am a survivor.

Meg Reyes - Reading the stories of other [Nuestras Historias] survivors aided me in realizing we all experience our challenges differently, but are affected by the same cancer which bonded us together.

Then
Now

Joan Trevino Lawhorn - We can freeze and let the disease consume us, or we can fight. My choice was to fight.

Joan Trevino Lawhorn - Cancer was a gift. It reinforced my faith. It has allowed me, in many ways, to reach out to other women and men and share my story of survivorship.

Then
Now

Maria Huerta - I broke down when I looked in the mirror for the first time, but  I thought, if I  don’t accept myself, who will?

Maria Huerta - [Nuestras Historias] changed my life…it brought a special closeness for my family all over again. The experience I felt is priceless to read testimonies from other woman (my sisters for life), knowing I am not alone.

Then
Now

Lucila Mendoza - I felt God’s hand at all times and I can’t stop thanking Him, my family, my friends, and the doctors

Lucila Mendoza - I started a small business, have been a strong supporter of my daughter’s professional career, purchased my house, saw my son get married—now I am going to be a grandmother.

Then
Now

Yolanda Molina - To me, heroes are those who fight without training against an enemy they cannot see.

Yolanda Molina - Becoming a survivor gives you a new perspective on life…the things I do in life now is because they make me happy, I enjoy the challenge, the outcome and amazing myself and others. I’m not scared to try or make things.

Then
Now

Tanya Enriquez - I made a promise that I would do everything to make young women aware of this disease and the importance of early detection.

Tanya Enriquez - Remember this is a fight for YOUR life: fight hard and smart. And remember, this hurdle is temporary and you WILL come out stronger in the end and a NEW and better YOU.

Then
Now

Tammy Ruiz - My husband and six children were my strength. There was always someone to love, accompany, and encourage me.

Tammy Ruiz - I was truly was scared…until I started learning about “cancer” and its treatment, surgeries, and the awesome help by medical professionals and volunteers at the CTRC.

Then
Now

Aurora Guajardo - Our bodies are the temples of the souls that were given to us by God. We have an obligation to take care of them.

Aurora Guajardo - To survive, we must be proactive about our health and find any malignancies or tumors at their earliest stages when there’s more treatment and cure opportunities.

Then
Now

Gloria Diaz - I thank God every day for giving me a second chance to live life to its fullest. May God bless each and every one who is going through this same experience.

Gloria Diaz - The book impacted my life by reminding me how grateful I was to conquer this battle and made me live life to the fullest every day since then.

Then
Now

Julie La Fuente Louviere - This thing called cancer was not going to take me down…I wore a T-shirt that my niece gave me that said, ‘I’m Too Sexy for My Hair.

Julie La Fuente Louviere - Survivorship means I am able to wake up every morning and be a wife to my husband, a mom to my girls, now a Glam’ma to my grandson, and loving aunt and sister…and never take life’s moments for granted.

Then
Now

Monica Uribe Nanez - My 7-year-old daughter Brianna told a grieving relative, ‘Why are you crying?  Dios es grande.’ That became our battle cry.

Now quote unavailable

Then
Now

Sylvia Beilstein - I know that being a survivor also means that I am a good candidate to get cancer again. However, I am confident that I would overcome it again.”

Sylvia Beilstein - My hopes for the near future are that there will be a cure for all types of cancer. I will also try to help others continue to obtain free mammograms.

Then
Now

Mary González - Be assertive about your health care. Know your body. Rely on your  family and faith. And stay positive

Mary González - Survivorship means that I have been able to see my children grow up; I’ve been given the opportunity to enjoy my grandchildren, the chance to grow old with my loving husband. I am living a full and healthy life!

Then
Now

Bea Vasquez - My advice is to trust in the Lord and modern medicine, and never accept the word cancer in your life. We have endured the test, the pain, and have joined the club of survivors.

Bea Vasquez - I have no challenges. I do not entertain cancer or any other illness. I trust in God’s will.

Then
Now

Irene Maldonado - Throughout it all, I knew I was exactly where God intended me to be. I was very much aware that all of my angels were there to help me.

Irene Maldonado - Everyone’s cancer is different. Don’t make everyone’s story your own. Stay focused and try to concentrate on your next appointment only.

In Memoriam

María Yañez An old saying goes, ‘No hay peor lucha que la que no se hace.’ There isn’t a worse fight than the one that is not made.

Diana Covone - My husband Tony was with me all the way. He used to call it ‘our’ cancer.

Elva Fletcher - We need to unite and help each other for our own sake and for the sake of our families. No Latina should walk alone.

Raquel Chacón - I searched in the deepest part of me and that’s where I found my answer. God was with me at all times.

Olivia Aguilar We don’t have to fear cancer, but we do have to deal with it, expose it, and get rid of it.

Esperanza Ferreyro - Throughout this experience, my family became more united. My husband Carlos…his love and support were unconditional.

Mary Oliva - I found my spirit tested. My mother’s words reminded me to find the good things.

Irma Macias - While I still see the stressful existence of our ‘old’ culture in some families, I believe that times have changed – for me and for many Hispanic women.

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