Share Your Survivor: Mildred Vorpahl Baass

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FOX44 is honoring breast cancer survivors all month long by sharing their stories.

Mildred Vorpahl Baass, of Victoria, is a two-term Poet Laureate of Texas in 1993-94 and 1994-95. She was also a two-time breast cancer survivor.

Bass was born in San Antonio in 1917. She never smoked, or was exposed to cancer-causing factors. There was no history of cancer in her family, so she was surprised when she contracted cancer two separate times in her senior years.

During the first time, she discovered a BB-sized lump in one breast when doing her self-exam while showering. A biopsy determined it was a cancerous tumor, and a lumpectomy was performed followed by radiation treatments. Although it appeared to not have metastasized, lymph nodes were removed in the area as a precaution. When her arm began to swell, she was sent to M. D. Anderson in Houston, where her daughter Nancy was taught a lymphatic massage technique that was successful in getting her arm back to normal. At some point, she was declared cancer-free.

During the second time some years later, she felt pain in her rib cage under the other breast. She had very recently had her yearly mammogram, which showed all was well – so she was surprised when a sonogram was ordered, and it revealed a golf ball-sized tumor flattened at the back of her breast. A biopsy determined it was cancerous, and a lumpectomy was performed followed by radiation treatments. It did not appear to have metastasized, but lymph nodes were removed in the area to be on the safe side. No arm swelling occurred – and at some point, she was declared cancer free.

Baass was a devout Catholic who prayed the rosary daily. She was thankful for both of her victories over cancer. She passed away at the age of 95 of natural causes, with daughters Nancy and Carol at her side.

We want to hear about your survivor. You can send the person’s name, photo and story to news@kwkt.com. We will feature as many as we can on FOX44 News and on FOX44News.com.

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