Imagine waking up one day and finding a lump that wasn’t there before. Thinking that it’s probably nothing, you go to your doctor to make sure and find out you have breast cancer.
This was a reality for Tamara Casillas six years ago.
“I think it takes you a minute to believe what you’re hearing,” says Tamara, “and you’re sitting there and you feel fine.”
After the initial shock wore off of finding out you have cancer, she immediately went into mission mode to get rid of the cancer. One of the first things she thought about was how is she going to tell her husband?
Her husband, former Dallas Cowboy and Hall of Fame inductee, Tony Casillas got choked up remember the day he heard the news that his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I remember pulling over and just…broke down,” says Tony, “the whole emotional aspect was hard to decipher but I knew I had to be strong for her.”
Cancer is a difficult journey to go through but Tony and Tamara tackled it together. Tamara ultimately decided to get a double mastectomy to get the cancer out a quickly as possible…but there were still traces of the cancer in Tamara’s lymph nodes.
Something Tamara did not want to do but now had to do was go through chemotherapy. What she was afraid of was not only losing her hair through chemotherapy but what it would look like in front of her children. Up until this point, she looked like her normal self in front of her children.
“They were now going to see mom sick,” says Tamara, “it bothered me…it bothered me a lot.”
There was one silver lining when it came to Tamara’s children was that she got to skip over that rebellious and defiant age. She jokingly said if cancer had a gift to give – it gave her the gift to skip those years.
Tamara was able to beat the cancer, with the help of her doctors, husband, family and friends. Cancer is a tough battle and you shouldn’t have to face it alone.
“It’s okay to talk to friends and your family and you to talk to someone,” says Tony, “because you’re in it together. It’s a team.”
You’ll get an outpour of friends and family wanting to help. However, Tamara says you don’t have to take every call or answer every text if you don’t feel like it. You don’t have to feel great everyday or look strong for everybody, it’s okay take a moment for yourself.
Tamara’s last bit of advice, “live life today. Get it done today. Do what you want to do because tomorrow’s not a given.”
Tony and Tamara are co-chairs for Real Men Wear Pink, a breast cancer awareness campaign that’s bringing more men into the fight.
And also big thanks to the Dallas Morning News and FWD>DFW.