El Paso woman, husband beat breast cancer together

Peter Orpinel

POSTED: Friday, October 25, 2013 - 7:13am

UPDATED: Monday, October 28, 2013 - 10:43am

Doctors diagnosed an El Paso woman with breast cancer four years ago. During each step of her battle, her husband was right by her side, giving her the love and support she needed to beat it.

"I would cry. He would cry and it was just being able to pull that together and, ‘OK, we're going through it together,’" said Christine Orpinel.

Christine felt a lump in her breast in 2009. Soon after, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer.

"I said, ‘OK this is it. No more crying and we'll do what we need to do,’" said Christine.

"All I could do was just not accept… I was angry. I was scared, scared to lose her," said her husband Peter Orpinel.

Chemotherapy was hard, but Peter was at every session.

"I sat there and cried while she slept because I saw these chemicals going through her body," said Peter.

Throughout treatments, Christine would sleep a lot.

"I would come up to her and touch her to make sure she was OK and see her breath, because it was motionless," said Peter.

And she started losing her hair.

"It came a time where I was standing outside the shower and she was handing me her hair," said Peter.

Christine, Peter and their 13-year-old son shaved their heads together, and nothing changed the way he looked his wife.

"Beautiful round head. She was more beautiful to me," said Peter.

For nine months, Peter, a diabetic, put his own health issues aside and in the process gained 45 pounds.

"I was going to live and I was going to out beat diabetics the next 15 to 20 years. It was her that we needed to focus on," said Peter.

Now, after four years, six chemo treatments, a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy, Christine is cancer free.

"I’m ecstatic. It changed my world. But I’m ecstatic," said Christine.

"I look at her now and I know how strong she is," said Peter.

They have a message for other cancer patients and their families.

"Get the support you need from your husband, your kids, your brothers, your sisters, parents and in the end it will all be OK," said Peter.

Doctors diagnosed Christine with a gene that increased her chance of getting breast cancer. Her mother, grandmother and two aunts are also breast cancer survivors. She advises other women who have family members with breast cancer to get tested for the gene... So they can be aware of the signs.

Comments News Comments

What a wonderful story! Thank you Cathy Hernandez for bringing us these breast cancer tips and for sharing survivor moments with us. Thank you also to the Orpinel Family for showing us that to beat this disease you must let others in. You are blessed to have a loving, supportive family by your side.

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