Community rallies to aid Hahnville mother with rare cancer

Tumor grew with chemotherapy

Diagnosed with an extremely rare form of breast cancer, Rebecca Tassara’s doctors were surprised when her tumor actually grew during chemotherapy.

“It was a rare case they’d only seen one time before,” said the mother of 4. “In October, they stopped the chemo and removed the tumor.”

But it would become a series of gut-wrenching challenges for her and her family in Hahnville that flipped their world from dream life to nightmare.

“It kind of all happened at the same time,” Tassara said. “We had just moved into our house. We were just getting used to being in our home … in the routine with a new baby and everyone was working. We were getting into a groove. Things were good. I would say we were fine.”

In June of last year, she noticed a lump in her breast shortly after weaning her 5-month old baby, Caleb. Within weeks, tests confirmed a tumor in her breast. By July, Tassara was diagnosed with “triple negative” breast cancer, which is aggressive and rare.

By the fifth round of chemotherapy, she got more bad news.“The cancer has spread out of the original site,” she said. “I’m starting over.”

A distressed Tassara said she isn’t sure yet what this means so they’re consulting M.D. Anderson, one of the most recognized cancer treatment centers in the world.

In January of last year, they were living the dream life with a newly built house, a new baby and healthy family. Soon after, her husband learned he was losing his job with Hexion in Luling, which closed the division last year, and she was diagnosed with cancer.

Although her husband has found a new job at OxyChem, he has to be father and mother to their children.

“He’s trying to be Mr. Mom,” she said. “But he’s dealing with learning a whole new job that’s different than Hexion.”They’re getting support from the community, which Tassara said is enormously appreciated with them feeling overwhelmed and stressful.

A fundraiser is planned April 29 at Step Brothers in Metairie and an account set up at: Family and friends also are providing meals, childcare, transportation to doctors and prayers.

At age 37, a worried Tassara is fighting a cancer that affects about 15 percent of the U.S. population with little understanding of what is now diagnosed as Stage IV cancer. It has not responded to harmone treatments or chemo, which leaves her with few options.

“It’s a very rare form and it can mutate,” Tassara said. “They just don’t know about it. I’m still processing everything now. I’m just scared.

“I’ve got four children and a husband – they’re all scared. I just want to get this started. I’m ready to do whatever it takes. I’m not ready to give up.”


About Anna Thibodeaux 2042 Articles
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