Hillsborough teacher talks to students about her breast cancer - WFLA News Channel 8

Hillsborough teacher talks to students about her breast cancer

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43-year-old Yamel Arronte was nervous to stand up in front of her students for the first time after her mastectomy. 43-year-old Yamel Arronte was nervous to stand up in front of her students for the first time after her mastectomy.
43-year-old Yamel Arronte was nervous to stand up in front of her students for the first time after her mastectomy.

"I was going to come back in without breasts. All the sudden your teacher goes from a D cup to an A cup to a B cup to a C cup," Arronte said. "Then I got an infection and went back to flat as a boy. They're at a very curious age."

The mom and Army veteran-turned-school-teacher found out she had breast cancer on April 1. Instead of going through testing and treatment, she decided to go with the surgery. She didn't know how her students would react to her new shape, but she had faith once she explained, they'd understand. Using medical terms, she explained her new look.

"There's a huge lesson in that," Arronte said. "Number one I wanted them to know that not everyone with cancer dies."

Her sixth and eighth graders took the news well. They brought their teacher cards and gifts.

"When I came in, I saw her and didn't say anything," Talo McGee said. "But when she brought it up, it was cool."

Many of her students describe her as "inspiring." Most of them saying they learned cancer doesn't have to be the end of the world.

"You can go through things and get them over with and move on with your life," McGee said. "You can still have that spark."

Even as middle schoolers, they notice Arronte's undying spark.

"You have to give them your best, even if they're at their worst," Arronte said. "That's what drives me."

Arronte plans to have her reconstructive surgery in February. In the meantime, she's teaching and going through her bucket list of traveling the world.

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