For Dad And Daughter Fighting Breast Cancer, Grit Runs In The Family Arnaldo Silva and his daughter Vanessa supported each other through chemotherapy treatments several years ago. Now, they are facing another fight.
NPR logo

For Dad And Daughter Fighting Breast Cancer, Grit Runs In The Family

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487671579/487884907" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
For Dad And Daughter Fighting Breast Cancer, Grit Runs In The Family

For Dad And Daughter Fighting Breast Cancer, Grit Runs In The Family

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487671579/487884907" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Time now for StoryCorps. Today, a father and daughter diagnosed with the same type of cancer. Ten years ago, Arnaldo Silva noticed a lump in his chest and got it checked out. At StoryCorps, he told his daughter, Vanessa, what happened that day.

ARNALDO SILVA: I'm sitting in an office with about 80 women. Everybody's staring at me. And this lady leaned over. She says, are you waiting for somebody? I said, no, I'm here for me. And I remember the doctor. He looked at me. He says, you have male breast cancer. And we got to move right away. And then I was told that you had to get tested.

VANESSA SILVA-WELCH: I took the genetic testing and went to do the mammogram. The technician put the film up to the light, and I can remember my stomach cringing.

SILVA: All of a sudden, we had to go get chemo together.

SILVA-WELCH: It was tough.

SILVA: It was, and everybody kept telling me, you, breast cancer? Isn't that a woman's disease? You know - but you were the first to say, Dad, we're going to do this.

SILVA-WELCH: I used to call you 'cause the only one who would really know what I'm going through right now is Dad. And there was never sugarcoating anything.

SILVA: There was times I said, I know why you calling me. Listen, your fingernails are going to start turning black. Don't worry. It's the chemo. I felt like I was giving you a heads up.

SILVA-WELCH: But I think being diagnosed again this year kind of did a number on me mentally. I did everything I was supposed to do. I did the chemo.

SILVA: Knowing that you're fighting it now again is hard. Is this the way my kids are going to remember me, that I gave them this disease? I don't know. There's days I just want to leave the earth.

SILVA-WELCH: If it wasn't for you and finding your lump, I would not be here. You saved my life. I'm here today because of you, so that's what I want you to walk away with. I'm blessed to have a dad like you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: That's Vanessa Silva-Welch speaking with her father, Arnaldo Silva, at StoryCorps in New York. Their conversation is archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Copyright © 2016 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.