Mama Reta cooks up best year ever after overcoming breast cancer

Published: Oct. 9, 2015 at 11:18 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 9, 2015 at 1:52 PM CDT
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It is opening time for Mama Reta's Kitchen in downtown Lake Charles and just moments until the lunch crowd starts piling in.  

Owner, cook, and recipe master, Reta Nell Durgan, just celebrated one year in business.  It has been the biggest year of her life professionally and personally after overcoming breast cancer.  "I started to feel like something was going on in my body," she said, "and I decided to do my own breast exam and that's when I found the lump."

Reta says she has always been proactive about her health and this time was no different.  "I immediately called my doctor, made an appointment and they did a biopsy on me," she said.

That is when Reta got the diagnosis that shook her to her core: breast cancer.  It had been undetected in the previous year's mammogram.  "Fear.  All the thoughts in my head and you try to think back if anybody in your family had it," said Reta.  "You tell people about it, share it with them, and then you have so much negativity about the situation.  So you just really have to block it out your mind and just go forward."

Reta's plan going forward was to have her breast removed, something she says never made her feel like less of a woman.  "I actually feel more powerful now and stronger than when I had the breast," she said.

A cancer diagnosis only helped Reta realize her dreams that much more and she says life could not be sweeter today.  "I am, one year later, living my dream, sharing my experience, my story with everybody who comes in the restaurant and just doing what I love to do," she said.

Reta is one of this year's Ambassadors for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.  She will be at the local chapter's walk in Sulphur's Heritage Square on Saturday, October 10.  Click here for more information.  

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  KPLC has partnered with Lake Charles Memorial Breast Health to bring you a 30 minute special, "Look Beyond Pink" on Monday, October 12 at 6:30 P.M. You can watch it on KPLC or on that evening.   

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