Breast Cancer Awareness Month Highlights A Teacher Who Went Through It


Dakota Decker

Math teacher Patricia Bird was diagnosed with breast cancer Dec. 24, 2020 and beat it June 14, 2021.

Dakota Decker, Reporter

Christmas Eve.

A day friends and family come together. And for one woman it was a day that confirmed that she would have a new struggle. 

“Just one more thing to get over,” she said. 

Geometry teacher Patricia Bird received the news she had breast cancer December 24, 2020. She beat cancer June 14, 2021.

“I was scared at first, so I had to put on a brave face for everybody,” Bird said. “I struggled through school and I gritted through the pain and just kept on going.”

Bird first suspected something was wrong when she began feeling uncomfortable. She decided it was best to get it checked out. 

“The doctors confirmed it was cancer,” Bird said.

Bird was on her way to H-E-B when she got news she had breast cancer. 

“I was in the H-E-B parking lot with my son, and I got the call,” Bird said. “The initial feeling was, ‘Of course I have cancer. Why wouldn’t I have cancer?’ One more thing to get over.”

It wasn’t much of a shock to Bird because breast cancer is built into her DNA.

“I kind of suspected it to be honest because it runs in my family,” Bird said. “At first it scared me, though, because my mom died from cancer.”

Bird’s mother’s chemotherapy made her sick throughout the time she was doing the treatment, but for Bird, it made her body ache severely for three days after.

“I was actually pretty lucky that my chemo didn’t make me sick,” Bird said. “My chemo just gave me the most excruciating bone pain for three days, like every bone in my body just ached. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.”

Breast cancer is a hormone feeding cancer, so Bird went through a number of surgeries to prevent the cancer from coming back and spreading. She received a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy. 

At first it scared me, though, because my mom died from cancer.

— Math Teacher Patricia Bird

“I decided to have a double mastectomy, having both of my breasts removed to reduce the chance of it coming back there,” Bird said. “And then I got a hysterectomy so that cancer didn’t travel anywhere else in my body.”

Bird said her support group was amazing and that she couldn’t have asked for a better one. 

“I could not have asked for a better support group while I was going through that,” Bird said.

Math teacher Kristina Hopkins ran Bird’s Canvas lessons, and digital arts teacher Cathy Kuehne ran a meal program for her to have food when she couldn’t go to the store. 

“She does anything to help anyone, and we wanted to help her in her time of need,” Kuehne said.

Bird did not let herself feel upset with the fact that she had cancer, and now she is one year cancer free.

“It doesn’t change anything to be upset about it,” Bird said “You just gotta keep thinking positive and moving forward.”