The Gazette is partnering with title sponsor Penrose-St. Francis Breast Care Center and ribbon sponsor Peak Vista Community Health Centers to bring you inspiring stories of local breast cancer survivors and a behind-the-scenes look at the care process from physicians, surgeons, nurses and volunteers throughout October.

Misty Banta is many things: a wife, a mother of four, a grandmother to three, a yoga instructor and most recently, a breast cancer survivor.

Originally from Pensacola, Fl., Banta was visiting her sister in the Sunshine State last fall when she noticed a lump on her right breast. “I wasn’t too concerned, but I did schedule a mammogram when I got back to Colorado.”

Banta’s mammogram revealed an obvious tumor. “Things went from not such a big deal to urgent very quickly,” she said. Banta needed to schedule a biopsy to determine if the mass was cancerous. “I asked the technician if I could wait until after the holidays, but she said ‘No, you need to close this loop right away.’ I got the message it wasn’t anything to mess around with.” Banta reached out to Peak Vista Community Health Centers for guidance. “They were really wonderful and connected me with resources I could have never found on my own.”

On November 17, Banta had a biopsy and was told she had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, the most common type of breast cancer. Unfortunately, the tumor was larger than originally thought and had spread to Banta’s lymph nodes. She opted to have a mastectomy to remove the affected breast tissue, followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation therapy to ensure the cancer was destroyed. Her last round of radiation was August 7, and she celebrated her 55th birthday on October 14, cancer free.

“It’s been an 11-month journey; every offering of love and support is perfect,” she said. Banta is a yoga instructor for the Colorado College swim team, and when 13 of the team members shaved their heads in solidarity, it gave her courage to continue her battle. “I have so many examples of people doing different things to help me on my journey. My sister posted a picture on her Facebook of the two of us from our childhood every day to remind people to pray or to think of me. I had a friend walk with me daily, a friend change my sheets every week while I was at chemo, my daughters juiced for me … all sweet reminders that we each have something to offer to support the ones we love.”

She also credits the support she received from Peak Vista with helping her fight breast cancer. “I have great respect for their physicians and staff,” she said. “They are servants of this community and compassionate towards their patients. I don’t know how I could have walked this journey without them.”

Pikes Peak Newspapers, Editor

Hannah Blick has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years. She studied journalism at Kansas State University and enjoys biking, skiing and hiking in the Rockies.

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