Meet Mrs. Torres, PPCHS’s Warrior


Photo by Natali Brito

Iris Lee, Staff Writer

   Repetitive trips to chemotherapy, constantly in and out of surgery, and the lingering sense of fear towards the unknown. For many, breast cancer is unfathomable, something purely heard out of stories, and they never suspect it could happen to them. However, for millions across the world, breast cancer is a grotesque reality.

   It all started with a lump. On February 17, 2020, Mrs. Shannon Torres received a phone call that would turn her world upside down. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (Breast Cancer). Just weeks before, Mrs. Torres found a lump, but wasn’t experiencing any other symptoms. Breast cancer generally develops in women over the age of 50, and as a young 37 year old mother of 2, the prospect of cancer was improbable. However, as an avid believer in keeping up with personal health, Mrs. Torres immediately made sure to follow up with her doctors. Just weeks later, she was hit with the news of her diagnosis. “It was scary, of course. I felt like I was too young for breast cancer,” she expresses. 

   Treatment began in early March of 2020, and just a week later, COVID hit the U.S. As PPCHS’s Curriculum Specialist, AP Coordinator, and Cambridge Coordinator, the everyday stress of work, on top of the pandemic and her extensive treatment plan, Mrs.Torres has had a lot to carry on her shoulders. However, Mrs. Torres is a firm believer in staying positive, and focused on the positives surrounding her circumstances. “The timing of Covid was actually kind of fortunate for me with treatment… We were all working from home anyways, so I was able to keep up that way. My surgery was over the summer in 2020, so I didn’t have to miss any time from work for that either,” she says. And when the brief relief from work wasn’t enough to keep her positive, Mrs. Torres frequently looked to her family and friends for comfort. “My family and close friends were my source of hope. I have two young girls and needed to get through it for them! I hope when they’re older they can look back and see the strength that you need to have sometimes.”

   For many, cancer seems like an everlasting illness, and it is easy to lose hope. Mrs. Torres’s treatment plan was undoubtedly a difficult one. “I had a port surgically implanted, completed 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 12 rounds of immunotherapy, and surgery. My life isn’t quite the same and likely never will be.” However, she adds on, “I can’t do all the same things I used to be able to do, but that’s okay! It’s just a new version of me.” Now, Mrs. Torres is finally out of the woods, and follows up routinely with her doctors. After experiencing such trials and tribulations that no one should have to go through, Mrs. Torres knows that there are many women out there experiencing the same things she has. “My best advice is to be aware of yourself and how you’re feeling. No one likes going to the doctor, but always follow up on something that doesn’t feel right. To someone going through it… Once I was diagnosed, one of my best friends told me, “Don’t borrow trouble.” That has been my motto since then. Just take everything one day at a time and focus on what you can control.” PPCHS is blessed to have such a remarkable woman in our family, and will forever be grateful for Mrs. Torres’s hard work.