What Survivors of Breast Cancer Are Doing Now


Marisa Kolakowski, Staff writer

In the Month of November we are honoring the breast cancer survivors that have come back to Vista del Lago High School successfully.. There are teachers at Vista who have overcome breast cancer and are inspiring us everyday to not take things for granted.

Breast cancer is powerful and hard to beat. About one in every eight women in the will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. Approximately 41,070 people in the U.S. alone are expected to die from breast cancer in 2017.

Lisa Johnson is a kinesiologyy and sports teacher at Vista loves teaching.  She started teaching at Vista del Lago from the beginning, coming from Folsom Middle and Folsom High School. She was happy and active, racing bikes, and running marathons, but then noticed a lump that concerned her. Johnson’s doctor diagnosed her with breast cancer on May 5, 2012 after going to the doctor in suspicion that something was wrong.

Johnson was in disbelief. “I was very sad and questioned, ‘Why me?’ and ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ because I was in really good shape before this,” Johnson said.

After everyone found out that she had breast cancer, the whole school organized a Pink-Out before her surgery to show their support. Everyone wore pink and decorated the school in pink to honor her.

She took chemotherapy for 12 weeks, and every three weeks she had an infusion. Johnson’s treatment took five and a half years, and she just finished a month ago. She is now keeping active by working out.

One person who inspired her when she had cancer was Gayle Martin. “If something gets tough, just know that you’re with family and friends. You are tougher and you can get through it,” Johnson said about her relationships. She also wants everyone to know that you can get through everything—you just have to be positive.

Gayle Martin, an art teacher at Vista, is another woman who faced and survived breast cancer. She was a first grade elementary teacher at the time of her diagnosis.

She found a lump when she was laying down and felt pain in her left breast. She went to the doctor to see what it was diagnosed her with breast cancer. “I was sad, but the first night had freaked me out,” Martin said.

She went into surgery on Jan. 16 at the age of 39. After her surgery, she had to take January through May off of work; many people gave her food, but it was hard for her to accept all the gifts.

Martin wanted to show her students that she was okay, so she went back to school in May. However, she went back too early and physically crash, so she was not able to do her normal activities. She had to take the next year of school off.

Most importantly, she wanted to show her children, ages 3 and 5-years-old at the time, that she was okay because if she died, they wouldn’t remember her.

She also wanted everyone to know that when you get cancer it is different from the past.  “I always think it is touching, and I think it is awesome that Vista supports breast cancer,” said Martin

After her recovery, Martin has inspired many people. For example, a first-grader was diagnosed with leukemia in second grade and Martin inspired him to keep strong

Many teachers at Vista inspire others to be strong and don’t let something ruin there lives. Hopefully the cure comes soon and there won’t be any more Eagles diagnosed with breast cancer.