Breast cancer survivor uses faith, joy and the love of community to win her battle

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By Heather Wilson

Leah White of DeKalb is a breast cancer survivor.  Leah’s story began in September of 2017 when she felt what she describes as a “thickness” in her left breast, along with some itching and general discomfort.  Leah, a wife and a mother of four who put her career as a physical therapist on hold to homeschool her children, shook her symptoms off initially, thinking perhaps she had a bug bite.  However, once she saw a doctor, she was shocked at her diagnosis.  

“I had no family history of breast cancer at all.  Zero.  And that’s why I wasn’t expecting this to be cancer,” she said.  “But after biopsies it was determined that not only did I have stage 3 breast cancer in my left breast, I also had a small amount of cancer in the right.  So I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer.”

Along with such a diagnosis normally comes a certain amount of panic.  But Leah says she and her husband Pat had their faith to lean on.  “I remained somewhat calm,” she remembered.  “I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so I knew that no matter what happened, I was going to be okay.”

So Leah began to pray, and to ask God for guidance and for answers.  She began seeing Dr. Rosa Cuenca in Mount Pleasant, Texas, who performed a mastectomy of her left breast and a lumpectomy on the right, then recommended chemotherapy and radiation.  Leah’s surgeries went smoothly, but treatment was another story.  “Chemo was rough.  I lost my hair, which was harder than losing my breast, because it’s so visible,” Leah said.  “And my hemoglobin got very low, which causes exhaustion…..the chemo was the hard part.  But if there is one thing I learned about cancer it’s that you cannot compare yourself to anyone else.  Every cancer is different, every treatment is different, every outcome is different.”

With the help of her church and people of the community, Leah made it through her chemo and radiation treatments.  Women from the community volunteered to drive her to and from treatments, and, according to Leah made treatment days “actually enjoyable.”  Members of her church and other area churches prepared meals on days she was too sick to cook, and she received countless cards, prayers, and well wishes. “My relationships with the people of this community were one of the many blessings of this cancer,” she said.  “My faith has increased, and I also have more compassion for people with health difficulties.  You just don’t understand until you’ve been through it.”

Over a year after her diagnosis, Leah is looking to the future.  She is studying to take the state boards to continue her career as a physical therapist, and remains health conscious and hopeful.  She credits three things to her successful battle with breast cancer: “What got me through this was God, His promises, and His people,” she said.
You can read about Leah’s journey in her own words, and continue to follow her story at her blog at

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