Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Ruleen Howard shares her story of surviving breast cancer twice

Breast Cancer

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “It’s scary anytime you hear the c word. It just kind of emotionally drops you to your knees,” said Ruleen Howard, Two-Time Breast Cancer Survivor.

Howard has heard that word twice.

The first time in 2014 when she went in for her annual mammogram.

“They found a small mass. I could not feel it. It was a soft tissue mass. They did a biopsy and found out that it was cancerous. So then I went and had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. I remember between the time of being diagnosed and the actual surgery, I just wanted it out. It was scary,” said Howard.

Howard went into re-mission following those treatments.

But her breast cancer was far from over.

In October of 2020, she went in for her annual mammogram. Howard says the doctors saw some concerning issues.

A biopsy revealed that she had breast cancer yet again.

“I wasn’t really prepared and yet I was like well I’ve done it before. I can do it again,” said Howard.

But this time around, Howard said she had some different thoughts as to her treatment options as she chose not to do chemotherapy.

“That took way too much out of me. It was very very difficult and I didn’t want to go through that again and that was a part of what lead to the decision to do the bi-lateral mastectomy. They removed both. I felt it would be easier for me. So I had the surgery, luckily that was enough,” said Howard.

Today, Howard is cancer free and has a message for those undergoing treatment.

“There’s so much about the whole breast cancer movement that it’s fight like a girl, be a warrior. You’re a survivor. You’re strong. Well it’s ok to not be strong. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to be sick. It’s ok to ask for help. We don’t have to be the warrior all the time. It’s ok to be scared and afraid,” said Howard.

Howard also wants to thank all of her friends, family and co-workers for their support during those times.

This includes her son who shaved his head when she had to shave hers.

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