C ourageous M om — RIANA BEAVERS Teacher Learns Lesson on Faith and Fighting Cancer BY MELISSA MOORMAN R 8 iana Beavers found out in November of last year that she had breast cancer. She and her husband Ross have two kids, ages 11 and 9, and at age 37 she is younger than most patients diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. She described her cancer as being pretty far along. “I had four tumors, and I can’t feel them right now,” she said. “One was in my lymph node, so I had to do chemo first.” She has one chemo treatment left and will have surgery in May to remove any existing tumors. She will also have to continue taking medicine for a year after her IV chemo treatments are complete. “What a lot of people don’t know is that when chemo is done, you aren’t done. There is a maintenance part still to do. It’s not as major as chemo,” she said. She said she was really tired after chemo, and it takes about a week to “feel like myself again.” “My first couple of times that I had chemo it was hard for my kids. They saw me sick, I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t help them get ready for bed. I couldn’t make dinner. I couldn’t be their mom,” she said. It was a shock for her kids when she first told them about her breast cancer. When the kids were younger they had a babysitter who battled breast cancer. They supported her with a lemonade stand to help raise money for her treatment. “They had gone through the journey with her. They were scared when I told them, b ut they knew it wasn’t a death sentence. They had seen someone recover from it,” their mother explained. Careity Foundation helped Riana with education and helped her get ready for her “new normal.” According to Riana, “When you’re starting out you hear about the new normal. You don’t even understand what you’re getting yourself into. I was extremely healthy; I worked out an hour a day. Even going to the doctor once a week is so strange to me. That is my new normal. I was taking care of myself health-wise, but taking time to rest was new to me.” One of the items in the information given to her by Careity is a calendar to help “keep track of my symptoms and share them with my doctor,” she said. She’s still working while undergoing treatment, as an elementary school teacher in Millsap ISD where she has worked for the past seven years. She says she really feels the support of the school and the Millsap community. “I love it, love this community. The community has done a lot for me. They even organized a fundraiser for me,” she said. The fundraiser consisted of the students paying $1 every Thursday to wear a hat to school. Seeing the students walk in the school with hats on was something that touched the hearts of every parent who gave money to their child for this cause. While her diagnosis is less than 6 months old, she’s looking forward this spring to being finished with her chemotherapy and getting back to being herself. “I’m not cancer-free yet; I’m still fighting it. I feel like my treatment is going well,” said Riana. “I have a really strong faith. I believe that God has a plan for my life and I’m looking forward to whatever He has in store for me,” she concluded.