In 2014, at age 47, Alicia felt a lump during a personal breast examination. “After a mammogram and a biopsy the doctor came into my room and looked at me funny and said, ‘Alicia, you have breast cancer. Stage 2B,’” she recalled.
Even though her mother and two aunts are breast cancer survivors, her diagnosis was still incredibly unexpected. “I decided that I would do whatever I had to do to survive. If I had to cut them off, that’s okay.”
Three years before, Alicia and her husband endured the loss of their 13-year-old son to a brain aneurysm. She thought about her son and thought, “If I can make it through my son’s death, I can make it through this.” Her son had a favorite phrase: “See it through.” “Even though my son is not here,” she said, “I can still hear him say, ‘Mom, see it though.”
When Alicia was told about her cancer, her doctors at Northside gave her options, and she eventually had a lumpectomy followed by 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. She is on medication for a total of 10 years, with five of them left. “My doctor was marvelous, and the nurses, they have such beautiful care from the time you first go in.” She said, “they just really took their time with you, they didn’t rush you. I will never forget them because my strength gleams from them.”
When asked what advice she would give to other women, Alicia said, “Make sure you do something for yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is your body. Don’t give up. Educate yourself. Find out about some things to help you in your process and your journey, like exercise and nutrition.”
Alicia has celebrated all of her milestones in her journey thus far, and is excited to celebrate another milestone once she finishes her medication.
Throughout her journey, Alicia has used her strength to help other women. She spends time volunteering with Northside’s Cancer Institute, Susan G. Komen, and Network of Hope “It helps me not put all of the focus on myself,” she says.
Alicia encourages women walking through cancer to have what she calls “Cinnabon” moments, moments where one can take time for yourself by giving back to others and “feed your body and mind with good things”. She says, “Giving back to Northside, Susan G. Komen and Network of Hope are my Cinnabon moments. I like to check in on the women and let them know that I’m here if they need me. Not everyone has someone to lean on, so we have to lean on each other and see it through.”