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Sisters-In-Law Fight Breast Cancer With Local Support

Publication: Midland Reporter-Telegram

By: Simone Jasper

When Connie Rubio started treatment for breast cancer, her sister-in-law, Tessie, offered support. Just months later, Tessie was diagnosed with the disease.

“I knew what she was feeling, so I was so upset for her,” Connie said. “It also made me a little stronger because I felt I have to be there for her. We’re going to get through this together.”

Tessie was comforted in knowing she could turn to a relative after her diagnosis. She has been a part of the Rubio family since she married Connie’s brother 23 years ago.

“I always had somebody to ask questions,” Tessie said. “If I didn’t feel right or something, I always knew I could call her.”

Tessie uses social media posts to inform women about the importance of self-examinations and mammograms for early detection. She was 44 when she discovered in December she had breast cancer. She soon turned to her faith for guidance.

“She was already pretty religious before that, but her faith really got strong,” said her husband, Lalo. “After [she] got through the first hurdle, she was very confident that God was with her.”

For Connie, yoga has been a way to relieve stress. She received a breast cancer diagnosis when she was 39 and immediately considered what it would mean for her daughter.

“I felt fear through the whole thing,” said Connie, who was diagnosed in April 2016 and later learned through genetic testing she had increased risk for the disease.  

Throughout their journeys, Connie and Tessie said family members in the Midland-Odessa area offered support. The two also checked in on one another.

“When Connie had chemo, I would go on my lunch breaks and take her lunch, and she did the same for me,” Tessie said.

The sisters-in-law have undergone treatments at Texas Oncology – Midland Allison Cancer Center and want others to realize they don’t have to go out of town for care. Connie said staying locally has given her loved ones a chance to see her go through daily tasks.

“I think it helps them to not be so afraid,” she said. “They see us every day.”

Local treatment also allowed the women to continue working and maintaining their younger children’s schedules. Erica, Tessie’s daughter, said going to her mother’s nearby appointments was significant.

“It was everything,” she said. “I went to every chemo with her. I would have been devastated if I couldn’t go.”

After their diagnoses, Erica has noticed her mom and aunt form closer bonds.

“It was very sweet to see because they’re not biological sisters,” she said. “But you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.”

Read the full story from the Midland-Reporter Telegram.

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