HIDALGO - The six-lettered word no one wants to hear they are diagnosed with - cancer. It is a word that hits hard to many. That word unfortunately came to the ears of 47-year-old Angelica Pichardo.

The mother of two daughters and former spa and salon owner, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May 2018 who noticed an abnormal ball in her left breast.

“I felt the little ball in my breast and a heavy sensation,” said Pichardo. “There was also a ball in my axila too,” she adds.

When discovering the news, Pichardo was overwhelmed with emotions and concerns for her family.

“I was afraid, angry, and sad and it hurt to see my children suffer because of this cancer,” she said.

The news was hard for Pichardo as she was just three months into her second marriage and managing her salon and spa.

“I felt weak and afraid of dying,” she said. “I was in an advanced stage and it was an aggressive cancer.”

Although the journey was hard for Pichardo, she was in good hands at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

“It was a very good team and I felt safe, I knew I was in good hands,” she said.

Pichardo underwent 16 chemotherapies, 33 radiations and 3 surgeries in 2018 but found ways to keep busy in educating herself on the diagnosis.

“During that year, I studied cancer and took online classes in trophology and am studying to receive a certification in coach in habits,” she said. “I am learning and understanding why our bodies become sick and it all starts with our habits. I also wrote a book called Peach Heart,” which in spanish translates to Corazon De Durazno, “And it is about my life experience meaning soft on the outside but strong on the inside, the phrase I like to identify myself as.”

Pichardo had her mastectomy surgery last year, putting her in remission and is part of an association of cancer patients known as ‘Angeles sin Fronteras’. The organization helps low-income families diagnosed with cancer in Reynosa, Mexico.

She thanks God every day for her family and that life itself gave her a second chance.