Teresa Arce was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She came to America in 2006 to start a new life and be closer to her children and grandchildren. Little did she know her life was about to change even more drastically than she could have ever imagined. On December 30, 2008, Teresa was visiting her son in Savannah, Georgia, when she received the devastating news from her doctor … she had Stage IV ovarian cancer. She was immediately rushed to the hospital where she underwent an emergency partial hysterectomy. Despite the surgery, her prognosis remained bleak. Teresa’s doctors estimated she had six months to live without chemotherapy, and one year with treatment.
Teresa, however, had other plans. It’s been 19 months since her diagnosis, and she is still fighting her battle with cancer and beating the odds every day. Her journey has been a difficult one, involving hair loss, pain, and two more surgeries. After making several trips back and forth to Savannah for treatment, she is presently receiving care in Huntsville.
Although Teresa’s cancer remains aggressive, so is her spirit. Her strength to fight is stronger than ever. She keeps herself busy as much as possible, and when she is able, she studies English, enjoys knitting, and faithfully attends Bible study and church. Teresa’s children – Jorge and Frescia in the U.S., and Juan Jose, Enrique, and Katherine in Peru – remain steadfastly supportive, helping her conquer this terrible disease.
For her garden, Teresa chose a brilliant swath of red and white snapdragons in the shape of the Peruvian flag to represent her heritage. In the center is a large teal pot filled with thyme, signifying her courage, and rosemary for remembrance. Alliums, tulips, mums, and hyacinths also add fragrance and color to Teresa’s garden.
Teresa’s words of advice to others facing a similar challenge are simple, yet powerful. "Never lose your faith in God. He is always with you. Try to learn and grow from every experience in life, even the difficult ones."