Proud of East Texas: Breast cancer survivors

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - These three women say they are sisters, not with blood ties, but with their experiences, because they are all breast cancer survivors.

"I was diagnosed in October of 2002."

At first, Jackie Newsom didn't believe the diagnosis. After all, she was only 29 at the time.

"Then it hit me that I had breast cancer. I started crying. I didn't know what to expect."

Jackie decided it was time to start praying and to find out what to do next.

"The first thing I learned  is just to pray, be consistent about it and keep yourself around positive people and know it's not the end of the world."

Jackie's fight was made even more difficult when she lost her four-year-old son to a terrible accident in the middle of her treatment.

"Yeah, it was a hard time."

But with prayer, treatment, and persistence, Jackie pulled through and now is a 15-year survivor.

"I was diagnosed September 25, 2015."

Shelitrice Bonner, or She She as she is called, had always been in good health. As a track star at Baylor University, she learned early on to stay active and to east well. Breast cancer was the last thing she expected to have, but as a trained nurse, she couldn't ignore the symptoms.

"I was taking a bath and I found a lump so I knew immediately that there was something wrong."

Beating cancer is often a race against time and with the aggressive cancer she had, medical treatment needed to start right away.

"Early detection is the key in itself but the actual getting the medical part of it started is also as important as the diagnosis and early detection."

She She agrees with Jackie that mental attitude is as important as treatment.

"It's really mental because if you get down you've lost the fight because that's what a lot of people don't realize."

"September 30, I lost my mother and I started chemo October 6, so it's been a long year for me."

Like She She, Becky found a lump in her breast through self-examination.

"I had chemo first and then I had the radiation."

Becky also chose lumpectomy over mastectomy.

"My doctor told me either way to mastectomy or lumpectomy, the survival rate wouldn't be any different."

While each case is individual, Jackie, She She and Becky all say that early detection, knowing your own body and good medical treatment, a positive attitude, diet, exercise and a good support system are all important in beating cancer.

Even though the three women knew each other before they faced cancer, they say that now they are sisters for life with the shared experience of becoming survivors.

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