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“I’m Enjoying My Life:” Breast Cancer Survivor Turns to Running

Isabel Muñoz
Isabel Muñoz
Isabel Muñoz rings the bell at the end of her breast cancer treatment in 2016.

EL PASO, Texas -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ABC-7 is profiling women who survived the battle with the disease.

Isabel Muñoz discovered a lump in her breast seven years ago. It was October 2015 when she rolled onto her side and felt something in her breast poke her arm.

She immediately scheduled a mammogram, and received her diagnosis on Dec. 30.

"We can give you chemo, and radiation, surgery," Muñoz recalled her doctor telling her. He added the "good news," which was that she would survive.

"I said, 'Okay,' but I was calm at that time," she said. But when she left the office she started running.

"I just wanted to run to my house," Muñoz said. "I started running to my house."

She wanted to escape. But she said her family and friends stayed by her side during her year-long treatment.

"I learned that the people that is gonna be with you in the good and the bad, are the ones that really love you," Muñoz said.

Muñoz doesn't mention the dark moments without pointing out the silver linings.

Like when she shaved her head, she realized how easy it was to shower.

"You have to be like a positive attitude," Muñoz said. "Don't be negative because all the negative- it goes into your soul."

She endured nearly 12 months of treatment.

But 14 sessions of chemotherapy and 70 sessions of radiation ended on a positive note.

"My last [treatment] was going to be on my birthday on Nov. 20," Muñoz said. "And [the doctor] said, 'You know what, you don't have to come on your birthday. This is your last one.' So I didn't have to go on my birthday. That was my gift from them."

Later that day, she received another positive note. It came from her son and his wife.

"They gave me a sonogram of my first grandchild," Muñoz said.

From running away from the doctor's office, to running towards the finish line.

Isabel Muñoz
Isabel Muñoz is met by her son at the finish line of Race for the Cure in 2016.

Muñoz has participated in multiple runs, including the Stand with Estela Casas 5K.

She even trained for a triathlon.

"I never thought I could run. I've never run in my life. I did it." Muñoz said. "And then swimming, and then the bike. Being able to be on the street on the bike was beautiful for me."

Muñoz didn't just fight cancer.

Three years ago, she suffered a stroke.

She said she didn't suffer any lingering side effects.

"God gave me my life back two times," Muñoz said. "So, I'm enjoying my life."

ABC-7 presented her with $250 worth of gift cards to Albertsons.

"Thank you," She said, beaming. "You see, like I tell you, it's another blessing!"

Albertsons teamed up with ABC-7 during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support survivors.

Muñoz urges women to not put off their annual mammograms and to conduct a self-breast exam every month.

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Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


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