Love can conquer a lot of things, but what about cancer? One breast cancer survivor says the love she received from her family and friends is the reason she's alive today. We found out about Norma Phillips about a month ago, when her son called KFVS to share his mom's story of everything she's been through.
It's a story that Phillip's daughter, Donna Protzel also wanted to share. She says, "My mother is just a testimony to miracles, she shouldn't be here by all medical accounts." But 11 years after her first battle with breast cancer, Phillips is still going strong. Phillips says, "When we first found out I had breast cancer, they gave me a 50-50 chance. After surgery, they said I would live five years." That was just Phillip's first round of breast cancer. Another round came in 1995, but that's not all. Two years later, the cancer started spreading to her bones. Phillips says, "I have a tumor on my hips, both hips, one on my spine, and one on my skull."
She's also had several strokes, along with knee replacement surgery, and a rod put into her hip and leg. It sent her and her family on an emotional roller coaster. Her son, Peter St. Sauver, took it hard. The woman who took care of him for years, needed his help now more than ever. He says, "When we were young she made sure she provided for us. She was a single parent so anything that we needed that she could afford she afforded for us." That's why he and his brother and sister stepped in. Taking on the role of caregiver, a role their mom had for years. Protzel says, "I'm a shoulder to cry on. She's very determined and very strong. There are times you're going to cry, because she's been through a lot." Phillips says, "They give me moral support, they go to the doctor's office with me. If I need anything they're there. They also give me a shoulder to cry on. I couldn't make it without my children."
Norma Phillips encourages all women to do self exams and to get mammograms, because that's how she found her breast cancer. As part of our Buddy Check 12 program, we encourage women to follow that advice.