Six years after being diagnosed with cancer, Anna Pastrano is still fighting to beat the disease. Her faith in God keeps her going forward even though she has stage 4 cancer.
For two years, Pastrano had been feeling ill. She was passing out, vomiting, had uncontrollable fevers and more, but doctors didn't know what was wrong with her.
She went to Dr. Sergio Cantu, a friend, who ran all kinds of tests including a CA 125 (cancer antigen 125) test which measures the amount of the protein CA 125 in the blood. Dr. Cantu wanted to rule out the possibility that she had cancer.
"He said it was to rule out cancer...He told me I had cancer. It was hard for him to tell me...He was amazing, but sad for him because he was my friend. Another staff member had to tell me," Pastrano said. "We didn't know where it started. My family and I were devastated and overwhelmed. It takes a toll on the whole family."
Pastrano went for a second opinion, that doctor told her she didn't have cancer. She went to another doctor who was also a family friend.
"Dr. Shoemaker told me I had cancer...With the help of my friends, family and Dr. Cantu, I went to MD Anderson a week later," she stated.
She was eventually told that she had two tumors, one in each of her breast, that had busted. The cancer spread throughout her body.
Pastrano is on medication, chemotherapy and clinicals to maintain her cancer.
"I'll never be cancer-free. I just maintain it. Faith is a very big word in my house," she said. "I tell my doctor that one day I'll never go back (to MD Anderson) because that's how strong my faith in God is...I've had to accept the task that God has given me."
In the last nine months, Pastrano was told that she had new spots - one in her shoulder blade and one in her rib cage.
Every 28 days Pastrano travels to MD Anderson. Something she's been doing for the last six years. A task that overwhelms her, her husband and her two adult children.
"Everyday is a very blessed day. I pray that God gives me many more years," Pastrano said. "I'm not going to let the devil beat me. I'm going to fight this. I know I can."
Her message to others is one to thank everyone for their continued support and prayers, but she urges others to stay on top of their health.
"Get checked, do your mammograms, check yourself in the shower. If you feel something go to your OBGYN immediately, don't let it linger. You never know, you never know," Pastrano said.
To help raise awareness, Pastrano will be the parade marshal for the annual Healing Walk set for Friday, Oct. 4 at the Jim Wells County Courthouse. The event starts at 11:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 12:15 p.m.