CREATED Oct. 7, 2013
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Sonya Gutierrez knows the importance of early detection.
"I was in the shower and found a lump, so it was quite a surprise," Gutierrez said.
She was surprised because she was only 31 and her family didn't have a history of Breast Cancer. Gutierrez also just quit her job.
"I didn't have insurance at the time so that was scary," she said. "I was able to go to Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and they got the ball rolling for me. They found it to be an aggressive form of cancer, so I had to have a very aggressive protocol."
Through the six challenging months of surgery, Chemotherapy and radiation, Gutierrez put her trust in her doctor and her faith.
"Especially on the bad days when I didn't think I could take another treatment," she said of relying on her faith. "I didn't want another treatment."
In the 21 years since her treatment, she's been cancer free. Thanks to early detection, breast cancer survival rates are at an all-time high.
"So yes, I've been very blessed and fortunate," Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez married the man who stood by her side during her battle with Breast Cancer and she is going on two decades working for the Tucson Diocese.
"It's like it never happened sometimes, you know," she said. "And other times, I have the reminder every morning when I get up and look at myself in the mirror. Theres a reminder that I did go through this and it's an opportunity to give thanks that I'm still here."
With her motto "Fight like a Girl," Gutierrez shares her story to give other women hope that even when their faith is tested, they can survive, too.