Cancer Survivors Gather For Life Beyond Cancer Retreat

It's a fear every cancer survivor lives with.  Will the disease come back?   Just last week, both Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow announced their cancer returned.  A group of women, all cancer survivors, gathered in Tyler today to learn how to live through that fear.

They all have different survival stories, but surviving is what brought 50 East Texas women together.  Thursday morning, the Tyler Cancer Center held it's second annual healing called Life Beyond Cancer, a life that includes the possibility of the disease coming back.

"That fear I think must never go away," said Freda Harder, 12 year cancer survivor. "I've never talked to a survivor who didn't have that fear." Last week, Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, announced her breast cancer was back.  It's a story that's touched close to home for many breast cancer survivors.

"When you hear a story like her's, it always makes you think am I doing the right thing," said Harder.  "Am I still eating right, am I still exercising."

"That's always in the back of your mind, especially being diagnosed as young as I was diagnosed," said Misty Watson, 7 year cancer survivor. "I know that I've got 30 years to wonder if it's going to come back."  These survivors say Edwards is doing the right thing by staying positive and not letting the disease control her life.  Just ask Tina Heimbaugh of Tyler, who has not only survived breast cancer, but throat and brain cancer as well.

"You have to be positive, and you have to believe that your creator knows everything that's going on with you," said Tina Heimbaugh, 12 year cancer survivor.  "This is not something you have to accept, that you can stand firm." Together these 50 cancer survivors share a bond, as they go through life knowing they have survived and always will.

Molly Reuter, reporting.