2013 survivor profile: Irene Teubert

"Stay active, volunteer, eat healthy and help people. "Stay active, volunteer, eat healthy and help people. Trust God." - Irene Teubert

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Irene Teubert discovered a lump in her breast in 1970, when she was just 38 years old.
"People just didn't talk about breast cancer then," says Irene. "It was considered almost a shameful thing. It was nothing like it is today, with so many resources out there."
Irene underwent a radical mastectomy, and also the removal of several muscles under her arm. "They found the cancer had spread to my nodes, and they didn't have chemo, so that was the standard procedure."
Breast cancer support groups were virtually non-existent at the time, so Irene had to face her fears on her own. "Even after the mastectomy, the doctor told me that it could come back."
Despite that frightening prognosis, Irene was determined to do everything she could to not give into negativity. "I prayed a lot," she says. "I always believed I was here for a reason. "
In 1978, Irene faced a scare when atypical cells were found in her ovary. She had a complete hysterectomy. "I did what needed to be done," she says of the surgery.
All along the way, Irene's biggest inspiration was her three children, who were only 9, 12 and 14 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. "I needed to see my children grow up and get married," says Irene.
Not only has Irene lived to see her daughter and two sons (one who became a cancer doctor) grow up, she's also been here for the birth of 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
"I decided long ago that, no matter how long I had to live, I was going to enjoy my life and have a good time," says Irene. "You've got to live fully every day."
 

You also may be interested in: