LILBOURN, MO (KFVS) - When you go through something tough, it’s so important to have support. In this month’s Pink Up report, we meet two Lilbourn teachers who are fighting breast cancer together.
“How do you go from being healthy all you life, never having the flu, I don’t get colds, I’ve never been to the doctor, to having cancer and your whole world changing with that one word,” explained Christal Austin.
Christal actually called the shock of her breast cancer diagnosis short lived.
“Mentally you are like oh I can’t do this, but you find a different strength you never knew you had,” said Christal.
A big piece of Christal’s strength happened to be just down the hall at Lilbourn Elementary. Paula Roberts teaches 5th grade. Almost three years ago, she thought her diagnosis of HER2 positive breast cancer would be the end of her story.
“I thought I would die, I honestly did. It seems so silly now, but I honestly thought when they put that injection in me that was going to be it,” explained Paula.
Paula certainly knows the emotional and physical toll of cancer.
“I cried on her shoulder because i knew right then somebody understood,” explained Christal.
Christal called Paula both her inspiration and her best friend
"An everyday person wouldn’t understand, but you didn’t go through it. Your body didn’t change your physical appearance didn’t change you know, said Christal.
“You don’t get through life without scars and you just have to be proud of your scars," Paula said.
Christal said she’s proud of her new hair because it’s sparking action all over the school. More than a handful of people have scheduled their mammograms because of Paula and Christal.
"Of course I teared up because that’s my job on this journey, is to help others, " said Christal.
Christal is celebrating one year since her mastectomy on April 12, 2019 and Paula said she’s planning a big party in May when she hits her three-year mark.