Georgia's Online Cancer Information Center

Silvia Garcia: I've Been Given a Second Chance

In March 2020, as the world was quarantining, I was dealing with the news I had breast cancer. I was diagnosed with stage IIB TNBC at the age of 31 and ended up testing positive for the BRCA 1 Gene mutation. My mom is also a breast cancer survivor.

During my treatment, I was blessed to have the opportunity to work from home and was able to work the entire time. Before cancer, I was an avid crossfitter. My husband turned our garage into a gym so I could work out during treatment.

I was also blessed with a support system that was extremely unique and amazing. My sister-in-law, father-in-law, and close friends took me to every single one of my appointments and treatments. I received more than 200 cards in the mail. For months, I received flowers every week. I received dozens of packages in the mail. My friends and family went above and beyond for me and my husband.

After weighing all the options for treatment, I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy and DIEP Flap Reconstruction. There were complications and recovery was hard. I wasn't able to bathe myself or use the bathroom on my own for three months. Nine months after my reconstruction I chose to have a full hysterectomy.

2022 was hard. Going in to 2023, I am finally starting to process all of my feelings from the past two years. On my first visit to physical therapy, I broke down crying. I was tired of being "strong." I put myself in mental therapy and it was the best decision I could have made.

I realize how blessed and privileged I am to have the support I had. Not every cancer patient can say that. I will never be able to pay these people back, but I can pay it forward. I started a small business call Silvia's Creations. I make wreaths, headbands, bows, cups, etc. I use half of the profits to create care packages for cancer patients.

But even starting the business, I still wanted to do more. After working in corporate America for 10 years, I came to terms with the fact that my job was no longer fulfilling. After much praying and soul searching, I switched jobs and accepted a position with the East Georgia Cancer Coalition as a Community/Patient Educator.

Tragedy, adversity, challenges -- they are all a part of life. But we can learn something from that thing that was supposed to kill us. Cancer broke me, but God took the broken pieces and created something even more amazing than I could have ever imagined. I've been given a second chance, and I plan to touch and help as many people as I can. I'm not done yet. I have much living left to do.

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Advancing Cancer Care through Partnerships and Innovation

Georgia CORE is a statewide nonprofit that leverages partnerships and innovation to attract more clinical trials, increase research, and promote education and early detection to improve cancer care for Georgians in rural, urban, and suburban communities across the state.