I’m a Breast Cancer Survivor: Lisa DiStefano

After work my husband Marc picked me up and my phone rang. My doctor asked me four times if I was driving. She even asked if I would rather come into her office for the news. I told her I needed to know and she told me I had invasive ductal carcinoma. I had so many questions. What is that? What does that mean? Do I still work? I couldn’t afford to have cancer. My husband had lost his job in construction and we were making considerably less a year. Cancer or no cancer, I had to keep working. Thankfully I had healthcare coverage through my work. 

I remember one of my first thoughts after receiving the news—I could now be on the surviving end of The Walk for the Cure. My mom had always had her survivor t-shirt since her second diagnosis in 1976.  With the news, I could be a survivor too. I now continue to walk for me and for her after her passing in 2004.

My first walk as a survivor was so very different and surreal. The walk was in Portland Oregon and I was team captain of “Survival Of The Tittiest.” I had already gone through a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction as well as most of my chemotherapy. When the horn blew for us to start our race, my heart fell and my knees almost collapsed. Tears started flowing down my face as the reality of my cancer really hit home.

Susan G. Komen’s Race that first year gave me a fresh look at survival. It gave me hope, strength, courage and comfort to keep my fight going.  Love and support from organizations like Susan G. Komen are the reason why I turned out to be who I am today. I help others go through their journey and this keeps me healing and focused on my love for others. The survivors in the all pink t-shirts on race day were the ones who made me feel that if they could do this I could too! I have since moved to Reno and immediately got involved with the Northern Nevada chapter of Susan G. Komen and will do what I can for this community.

My husband Marc was my knight in shining armor the whole time.  My son Zachary was amazing in his support for me. When I was down, the only thing Marc had to tell me was, I will take care of you and everything will be OK.  That was it, my anxiety left instantly.

Stroy by Pypeline Editing

lisa distefano pic

The Men Behind Breast Cancer; Lisa DiStefano and her husband Marc.