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

Hillsborough teacher talks to students about her breast cancer

Posted: Updated:
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.

Don’t miss out on the day’s top Facebook conversations



  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:49 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:49:59 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Labor Day - more than just a day off

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:41 AM EDT2014-09-01 10:41:03 GMT
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
    While many people have the day off work, the day is actually meant to celebrate the achievements and contributions of American workers.
  • Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Two shot outside party in Tampa

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:59 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:59:20 GMT
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
    Two people have gunshot wounds after a shooting outside a party in Tampa early Sunday morning, Tampa police said. 
  • Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Pilot dies in plane crash near downtown St. Pete

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:44 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:44:26 GMT
    Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.Rescue boaters are on the scene of a downed banner plane near Albert Whitted Airport.
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 
    The pilot of a banner plane that crashed into the water near Albert Whitted Airport has died, St. Petersburg police officials said. 

  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.