Savannah educator’s battle with stage 4 breast cancer

Paulina Tawil didn’t know how strong she was until being strong was the only choice she had.
Three days before her fortieth birthday in 2007 the c-bomb was dropped on her.
“I just actually went to scratch myself. I had an itch and scratched, and upon that I felt a little bump..
Doctors thought it was a cyst, but breast cancer surprised her and them.
The plan of treatment she chose included chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and reconstruction later.
In 8 years , October of 2014 — the cancer made an aggressive comeback.
“In my liver and in my bones, and so I’ve continued treatment since October of 2014 and so I will always be on some form of treatment. So it’s nothing that ever really goes away.”
Now she’s trying all she can to fight stage IV known as metastatic static breast cancer.
“I don’t want to leave one page unturned. If exercising helps, if eating certain foods helps, if doing certain treatments helps, whatever helps I’m gonna try.”
The wife, mother of 4, and retired teacher exercises with a personal trainer at Candler Hospital’s Wellness Center twice a week
Her faith gets her by day to day.
“Without my faith I don’t think I would be able to make it like I do or even have the attitude that I do. I know that whatever is dealt to me I can handle.”
The survival rate for people with metastatic breast cancer is 5 years , but some have lived longer.
“I do think about that. There’s days when you just have that attitude I’ve got this I’m gonna beat those odds. I wanna be that statistic that exceeds the norm and so I feel like you have to work at it to get there.
As she rebuilds her zest for life Paulina knows tomorrow is not promised, but today her life is for her family. She says she feels for her family more than herself.
Her greatest worry.
“I guess you always want to see who your children become. And just knowing that if I will have that opportunity.”
Paulina doesn’t have a family history and doesn’t have the gene.
Now she’s teaching her kids not to dismiss anything that’s not normal.
Her daughter Gabby just graduated from St. Vincent’s this year.
She was presented a $500 scholarship from the Tutus’ for Tatas group at Savannah Arts Academy
This is the first year they’ve awarded a scholarship to a student whose parent is fighting breast cancer.

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