Cesar Chavez Border Highway Toll
Since the start of 2014 El Paso drivers have been able to use the city’s first toll lane for free. Starting this weekend El Pasoans will need to pay 40 – 90 cents per trip. These toll lanes are the inner lanes on loop 375 from the Zaragoza port of entry to U.S. 54. The toll cost 40 cents if you are using part of the lane or 90 cents if you are using the entire length of the 8.9 mile lane. If you are a driver who sees yourself using the lane a lot and don’t want to have to worry about having change every morning then you can purchase a pre-paid tag(Toll Tag).
TollTags can be purchased on epexpress.org, via phone at 915-351-8655 and in person at any El Paso ACE Cash Express location. Drivers without a TollTag will be billed every month to the address that their vehicle is registered under. Each bill will be from the past 16 days starting from the first day they started using the toll lane. If a customer sets up an account online then they can download the app for iPhone or android to look at their usage for the month. The addition of these additional toll lanes are a hope for the city to handle the congested traffic our city is heavily facing currently on I-10 and other roads as well.
EL PASO 2014 & BEYOND
2013 was a fantastic year for new development in the city of El Paso. All parts of town saw growth in parks, retail space and entertainment districts. 2014 looks to be an even bigger year for the city.
New Urban Development is gaining speed in the new Montecillo development in west El Paso. With retail space, apartments and an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the works. Montecillo looks to be a premiere destination for the West side of El Paso and all of town. There are 99 residential units planned for the site which will be incorporated into mixed-use buildings. And 1,165 parking spaces will be spread out among surface lots, parking structures, and on-street parking. Another new shopping district in the works will be at the corner of South Desert Boulevard and Redd Road. This 14.9 acre shopping center is being developed by Centergy Retail of Dallas and is already anticipating a huge population growth in that area of town.
Restaurant development in downtown El Paso is sure to grow strong with the addition of the ballpark. Some places are already popping up like Anson 11. Whether you are in the mood for fine dining or a relaxed business lunch, Anson 11 is a great place to have a fantastic steak or a salad with a specialty cocktail. Sparrows Pizza is another addition downtown that offers great pies and a great selection of spirits and craft beers. If you are looking for some healthier options then The Green ingredient downtown has you covered. New casual dining spot The Green Ingredient in the Chase building offers a great selection of salads and sandwiches with a lot of Vegan options as well. And lets not forget about Craft and Social. Craft and Social is a new drink and eatery slated to open this spring 2014 downtown. A very old school vibe with modern decor. City Council will vote next week on the next phase for San Jacinto Plaza renovation project. This next phase will cost $4.5 million that will pay for additions of a full service cafe, shade structure, a reflection pool, an interactive water feature with splash deck and better seating throughout the plaza. Completion of this project would have to be done no later than 1 year from the contract award to the builder.
The Eastside has not been left out of new restaurant additions. Cabo Joes has expanded their businesses to the far eastside (Zaragoza) as well Steveo’s EAT & DRINK (Lee Trevino) coming east. Steveo’s offers a great selection of craft beers and premium burgers. The Fountains at Farah in East El Paso have really taken off this past holiday season. New businesses like Twin Peaks, TJ MAXX, Nordstrom Rack and Dicks sporting goods have been great new additions to an already flourishing Hawkins shopping district. Cinemas on the eastside are popping up or upgrading to handle the large burst in population in recent years. Premiere Cinemas at Bassett just upgraded their theatres and now provide IMAX shows as well. Cinemark just opened up another theatre on Montana and Joe battle that has over 15 screens itself.
Big in 2013
2013 saw the rise of a new Pope when Pope Benedict opted for a centuries first retirement. His successor came in Jorge Mario Bergoglio. The Argentina born Bergoglio was eventually elected and became Pope Francis. Since February Pope Francis has won over millions of followers with his attention to poverty and progressive social issues. The new Pope definitely clears the wave for modern catholics in what was seen as a controversial pick in the previous Pope Benedict XVI.
Apple added some new additions to its line of already broad products. 2013 saw a new line of iphones in its new 5c series. The 5c finally brought a $99 brand new phone to a new market in demand. 2013 also saw a new line of iPads with the iPad Air. Apple finally gave the public an iPad mini with retina for only $399. With rumors of a TV line, watch and more hand held products apple is looking for an impressive run in 2014.
Juarez is back
2013 saw economic and social growth in Ciudad Juarez. American tourism has doubled in 2013 than from 2012. Juarez is far from the 2008 unsafe view of a lot of residents and tourists. Billboards are flourishing throughout the city in what is appearing to be a rejuvenated city. As an example of the new commerce, there are about 15 new restaurants on the Boulevard Gomez Morin that have reopened in the past year. The image is slowly changing and the city is embracing this positive change. We can only hope is rises to be the tourist destination we all grew up with.
A big science story in 2013 was definitely what we learned about Mars. In 2013 we learned that life could have possibly survived on Mars. Scientists analysis from the Nasa rover discovered that the soil had about 2% water by weight. Talks of Mars exploration/travel were also further in the news with companies wanting to send people there. Mars One made big news with them wanting to send 4 humans to Mars by 2025 to start a colony. The Technology to send these people back does not exist so essentially this would be a one way trip. The Inspiration Mars foundation said it wants to send a man and woman to fly past mars and back in 2018. This mission would be 518 days long and have many people very interested.
El Paso Chihuahuas
El Pasos first Triple-A team is now officially coming to town. The unveiling of the name of the team was big news. To what was initially not welcomed warm by the city has slowly sunk in and the city for the most part has embraced the name Chihuahuas. Aside from the name we will see great economic impact in and around downtown once the stadium is built in April and beyond. 2013 will be the inaugural season for this team and the excitement around town is flourishing. This is just adding to the already steadfast growth in Downtown El Paso.
A QUIET NEW YEAR’S
5 ideas for a ‘just us’ New Year’s celebration
By: Sharon Naylor
With hotels charging several hundred dollars per person for their big New Year’s parties — which can often be loud, boisterous affairs filled with drunken partyers, headache-inducing club music and the need to book a hotel room — many people are deciding to skip the party scene this year and stay home instead.
It might not even be a pricey hotel bash you’re thinking about skipping. It might be a friend’s New Year’s party that would require a drive to his house and perhaps a sleepover so that you could avoid driving drunk and stay off the roads. In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that each year, nearly 10,000 people are killed in drunken driving crashes. The risk of sharing the road with a drunken driver is even higher on holidays such as New Year’s because of parties and get-togethers. New Year’s Day is the most dangerous day of the year on our nation’s roadways because of drunken driving. Facing that danger, you’d surely prefer an uncomfortable night’s sleep on a couch.
But again, more people are choosing to just stay home and avoid the hassle — especially if they’ve grown tired of the party scene.
If you’re among those who wish to save their $300 and stay off the roads, you can still make New Year’s a special celebration just for you and your partner, with a new plan — or perhaps the start of a new tradition — to have a “just us” evening. Dressed in comfy clothes, if not your pajamas, rather than in a pricey new outfit and foot-hurting shoes, the two of you can cuddle up on the couch to watch a classic movie or fireworks displays from all over the world. Or you can prepare a romantic dinner just for the two of you, followed by slow dancing in front of your fireplace, Champagne and a sinfully indulgent dessert to share. The quiet may be a big relief. The absence of drunken strangers and the budget-saving aspect of the at-home “just us” plan can make for the perfect evening and perfect welcoming of the new year.
Here are five ideas for your “just us” New Year’s celebration:
–Laura Bianco, event planner at My Bellissima, says that a big trend in party-for-two menu planning is to do a gourmet breakfast for dinner. “Try omelets or paninis filled with eggs, fontina cheese and vegetables, with spicy hash browns and mimosas as a pleasing meal option,” says Bianco. Add in some romantic flair by cooking your breakfast recipe together in the kitchen, with hugs and kisses plentiful as you sip your mimosas or Bellinis and show off your culinary skills to each other.
–Go gourmet. Plan a romantic, table-set dinner — with your fine china and crystal Champagne flutes — and for the price of just one ticket to a hotel ballroom bash, serve lobster, filet mignon, artisanal cheeses for the closing course and other gourmet dishes (See recipes at http://www.omahasteaks.com, and perhaps get a discount on your filet mignons and lobster tails, as well.) Let the Champagne flow as you indulge in five-star menu options that you might not choose throughout the year. Finish with a bakery-bought or self-made chocolate lava cake, chocolate mousse or another rich dessert and your special celebration is complete — for far less than the cost you would pay if you had to feed a houseful of party guests. Shopping at the seafood counter for just the two of you is surprisingly affordable, and some “just us” evening couples say they get excellent price breaks on king crab legs and shrimp at warehouse stores such as Costco.
–Skip the lobsters and just do chocolate. For your “just us” party, you can create an all-chocolate menu of mousses, chocolate crème brulee, truffles and chocolate martinis for a rich buffet of chocolaty treats. Some couples skip the chocolate martinis and make chocolate milkshakes, which are now so trendy that they’re served as dessert shots at weddings. Look up chocolate drink recipes at FoodNetwork.com to see what your favorite television chefs offer as rich dessert drinks.
–Go healthy. Instead of chocolate or crispy-shell fried appetizers like egg rolls or calamari — which you might have had plenty of during the past few weeks of holiday parties — create a fresh and healthy snack buffet. Cut up spears of carrots, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, rounds of cucumber, broccoli flowers and other veggies, and serve them up with a trio of healthy dips. Having a crudité platter all to yourselves can be surprisingly pleasing, fresh and crunchy, and refreshing instead of filling and greasy. Champagne mixed with 100 percent fruit juice adds a dash of color to your toasts to each other, as well.
–Order in, but choose different menu options. If you’re exhausted from all the holiday travel you’ve done and all the parties, you might just want to call your favorite pizza place or Chinese takeout emporium to have your “just us” menu options delivered. If so, consider choosing entirely new menu options than your usual to get more adventurous and perhaps discover a new favorite. “Out with the old and in with the new” is the whole point of New Year’s, and you can keep to the theme with unique takeout orders that let you sit back and relax until your food arrives.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
THE AFTER-CHRISTMAS PARTY
How to enjoy the holidays without the stress
By: Sharon Naylor
The holiday season can be immensely stressful, even though it’s supposed to be a time for light, peace and reflection. For many people, the season requires a crush of holiday travel, speeding through visits with family and financial expenses that strain the household budget — from gifts to plans for entertaining to cooking the big holiday meal. Even attending parties and kids’ school holiday concerts can be anxiety inducing with every day of the week packed with plans and obligations. This revved-up season begins before Thanksgiving in many cases, so it’s weeks upon weeks of stress, rushing and spending.
It’s no wonder that so many people experience higher stress during the holidays, and when you add in poor nutrition from those holiday party menus, as well as lack of sleep from all of the necessary cleaning and gift-wrapping, the holidays can be a marathon of pressure and exhaustion.
One solution to this holiday crush of activity is to move a holiday event to the week after Christmas. It might be your neighborhood “ugly Christmas sweater” party. Or even Christmas dinner itself, with more members of your family able to make it to your house once their travel to in-laws has been achieved the week before. Moving your party to a quieter, calmer, post-frazzle date can let you recharge and actually enjoy your get-together.
Here are some of the top advantages of planning a post-Christmas party:
–You and your guests are less pressured and free of the swirl of daily obligations and activities. With the wave of parties over with, you won’t all be glued to your cellphones, handling the business of travel plans, canceled flights, emails from hosts, and other holiday party and gift business.
–Your kids may be off from school, which means they can help with party crafts, cooking, setting up, and other tasks. These can be made into fun, family shared activities.
–College-aged kids may be home as well, enabling them to see all of the relatives, and also help with your party preparations.
–Your holiday decor is still up and ready for your party guests’ admiration. There’s no exhaustion from last-minute decorating the night before your party, or before your houseguests arrive for the week prior to the party.
–Travel is often much easier for your guests, since they’re not driving on highways filled with party-hopping guests or slow-moving traffic. Flights, too, may be less likely to be delayed with the volume of travelers diminished.
–With 50 to-dos off your list, you’ll have more energy to plan and not be the simmering, resentful host whose negative energy is palpable at the party. Fatigue can do that to you.
–You can use the Christmas gifts you received, such as new wine glasses, a new punch bowl, an espresso maker, a cute holiday-themed cupcake tree, and more party ware.
–You can set out all of those bottles of wine that you received as presents during the holiday season, cutting down on your party beverage needs and expenses.
This new plan might be so popular that it becomes a new tradition, enjoyed by you and by your guests, who all relish the chance to just relax and enjoy everyone’s company. Your party may be seen as a “saving the best for last” get-together.
One quick note that party planner Jenny Orsini suggests: Send out a save the date card or email to each of your guests far in advance of the holidays — at least eight weeks prior to your party — so that your guests can make arrangements to attend and have a great post-holiday event to look forward to. Send out your invitations at least six weeks prior, with an RSVP date of four weeks prior, Orsini says, so that you know how many people you’ll have to cook for, or set a place at the table for, if you’ll need to rent chairs, etc. All of your party details will then be set and secured way in advance, which is far better than fielding RSVPs during the hectic holiday season.
And make the party food easier on yourself by setting up a buffet and several stations around your home so that once the food is out, it’s out. You can certainly heat up a fresh batch and replenish halfway through the party, but a buffet is much less work than serving course after course of a holiday sit-down meal.
And be your own best friend during this event. Let yourself relax and enjoy your guests. Don’t sweat the minor details, and don’t talk about how stressful the holidays were for you. Just enjoy and your guests will, too.
COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM
Sun Bowl – UCLA vs Virginia Tech
Dec 31st 2013 at 12pm(Mountain Time) marks the 80th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl. This will also mark the 46th consecutive year of this prestigious bowl game being televised on CBS. This years exciting matchup features UCLA(Pac-12) against Virginia Tech(Atlantic Coast Conference).
The Virginia Tech Hokies come into this matchup with an 8-4 record against UCLA having a 9-3 record and a more balanced offense. The big storyline of this game will come down to the two stars of each team and yes you guessed it, its their quarterbacks. UCLA’s Brett Hundley has thrown for 22 touchdowns this season and is a very athletic quarterback compared to previous UCLA signal callers. Their has been much talk wether Hundley will come back to UCLA next year or not. If he decides to go to enter the NFL draft then its safe to assume hes going to try his absolute best to show scouts he can win in his last bowl game of his college career. Virginia Tech’s Senior quarterback Logan Thomas leads the Hokies with 2861 yards and 16 touchdowns for the season.
This years Sunbowl game tickets start at only $17 dollars and go up to $650(captains club). This years game looks to a be a high passed offensive game to give football fans of all ages a very fun game in our great city. An 80 year tradition for what is the 2nd oldest bowl game in the country and it keeps getting better.
The JB Sandlin Texas Builder of the Year
At the recent Texas Association of Builders meeting in Austin, Texas an honor was bestowed on Tropicana Homes as they were named the JB Sandlin Texas Builder of the Year.
The announcement was a surprise to Randy and Greg Bowling who had gone to the Hall of Honor dinner and awards thinking that there was a special award for El Paso, but in fact the award was for Tropicana Homes.
The event was also attended by El Paso Association of Builders executives, President Edmundo Dena, President elect Frank Torres and Executive Vice President Ray Adauto.
El Paso Creative Kids
Friday November 22nd First Lady Michelle Obama honored 12 different after school programs with the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The award recognizes exemplary after-school and out-of-school time programs from across the country. It is the highest national honor awarded to such programs. The programs were recognized for using engagement in the arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment, as well as improve literacy and language abilities, communication and performance skills, and cultural awareness.
The ceremony also included a speech by 12-year-old Danashiya Pritchard, a participant in Project AIM in El Paso, Texas. Project AIM reaches over 1,000 children battling cancer in two area hospitals, offering art-mediated therapy in painting on canvas, printmaking, and graphic arts, among other art forms. Over Project AIM’s fourteen-year history, more than 250 pieces of the patients’ artwork have been showcased in more than six venues in the El Paso area. Sierra Providence had a viewing party that included board members, Creative Kids Alumni, instructors and members of the media.
San Elizario Historic Cultural District showcases Native American Heritage Month – “Celebration Of Our Cultures”
By Anali Martinez
The San Elizario Historic District, where Culture is always on display, hosted the 2nd Annual “Celebration of Our Cultures” event, in honor of Native American Heritage Month this past weekend. Native talks, crafts and food were featured by various tribes and others.
Author Rachel Monday spoke on the Lipan Apache and Ed Arregon from the New Mexico Santo Domingo Tribe made a heartfelt presentation on his people, followed by others including the Taino, Navajo and Tigua also spoke. The day was highlighted by traditional ceremonial Aztec dances by Danza Omecoatl and the Tigua Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo social dancers, directed by Nancy Torres. The majestic Eagle Dance was presented, as well as the Buffalo dance and others. The audience participated in the traditional Round Dance.
The San Elizario Historic District continued the Celebration on Sunday with the final monthly Art Market for 2013 and the final performance of the year for the Pistoleros De San Elizario reenactment troupe. The group led by fourth generation reenactor Vincent Sanchez, excited the crowd with two performances on Sunday.
The San Elizario Historic District will host the 3rd annual “ChristKindleMarket” on December 6-8, 2013.
This Christmas holiday market takes place in the heart of the San Elizario Historic Cultural District and offers unique crafts and gifts for sale, a variety of entertainment, as well as German food and drinks. ??ChristKindleMarket offers a holiday shopping experience unlike the department stores in the area, as many of the items are handcrafted and incredibly unique. As it’s important to keep a full belly to stay warm in the winter chill, ChristKindleMarket will have a number of food and drink vendors on site as well. German sausages, sauerkraut, and potato pancakes are all on tap. Sweets, pastries and candies help provide a nice finish to your meal. To drink, German beers will be on hand as well as the traditional “Glühwein”, a hot spiced wine that is served around the holidays. So this Christmas season, gather up the family and swing by ChristKindleMarket San Elizario for a one of a kind holiday experience — outside of Germany, that is.
For more information: 915-851-0093?
The UTEP basketball season is back and this is going to be an exciting season. Veterans Julian Washburn, Jon Bohannon, CJ CooperMckenzie Moore and Cedric Lang return to a team with some fresh faces. Freshmen Vincent Hunter, Matt Willms, Tevin Caldwell and Josh Brown join this tournament ready team. The Miners started the season with a solid win against loyola 84-49. Freshman Matt Wilms contributed with 20 points to lead this very confident team. Four of the Miners scored in double figures along with Senior Jon Bohannon contributing 16 points and 8 rebounds. The Miners did well on defense and this win gives them confidence going into a rivalry game on Friday.
UTEP travels to New Mexico State on Friday. The Aggies were a tournament team last year and this rivalry game will be very much heated and tough for both squads. The Aggies are currently 2-1 and are looking to be one of the standout teams this season int he WAC conference. The game will be in Las Cruces but will be shown on ESPN3. The real competition for the Miners will be Thanksgiving weekend when the Miners face Tennessee in the Battle for Atlantis basketball tournament which also features Xavier, USC, Kansas and a variety of other schools. Top Ranked Kansas could possibly face UTEP in what would give the Miners a hard test Im sure they would be ready for though.
El Paso Motorcycle Coalition Toy Run
On November 3rd, the annual El Paso Motorcycle Coalition Toy Run was held from the truck driving school in Sunland Park to Cohen Stadium. This year over 2000 bikers rode from Woodrow Beam Trans Mountain.
This years 31th annual run got a lot of great sponsors that included Bronco Disposal, Popular Mattress, El Paso Cosmetic Surgery, Walgreens, Camacho Real Estate and San Jose Funeral Homes.
People looking to donate more toys can do so at their nearby Walgreens until December 22nd. This years run is expected to get over 5000 toys for underprivileged children in the El Paso area. The El Paso Motorcycle Coalition has done a tremendous job at keeping this event growing in the sun city.
San Elizario: Where culture is always on exhibit
Story and photos by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
Speak to Al Borrego for a few minutes and you will get a history and art lesson spanning centuries. Borrego, president of the San Elizario Genealogy and Historical Society, is fiercely proud of the area and has worked for the past four years to improve and promote the area and put it on the map. Working in tandem with the Society and other artists and community leaders, Borrego has built up the area and made it more attractive to tourists who come to see the area’s history.
The newest improvement to the area is the installation of sign-posts that make for an interactive self-guided walking tour of the San Elizario historical district. The markers have basic information about each location and have scan codes that can be read by smart-phones. By scanning the bar codes, an automated message in either English or Spanish about each site will automatically begin to play and share more in-depth information. The signposts, which are unique to the El Paso area, were built and installed by volunteers. Borrego explained the cost was similar to making a good quantity of printed paper pamphlets, but this method is much more user friendly and cost-effective. Guided tours are still available at designated times, but the signs are available to tourists who do not come at the appointed times.
San Elizario has also recently been designated as an official cultural district by the Texas Commission on the Arts. As of today, there are only 24 such districts in Texas, most near the downtown metropolitan areas of Texas cities. 5 new districts were appointed since last September. San Elizario became the 21st, the only one that is not situated in a city. San Elizario is a rural community of about 13,000 that is currently unincorporated.
Borrego and the San Elizario Historical Society got help from State Representative Mary Gonzalez. “She helped to compile the information, submit the application, and helped promote it from her office in Austin. The Texas Commission on the Arts designates areas as cultural districts through a process to see if you qualify or not. This past year, 8 locations in Texas submitted applications and only 5 were approved.” The new designation, other than opening many new possibilities for the area, also allows the Society to apply for further State funding for further revitalization and restoration efforts. “You have to show how the area will have an economic impact on the local community, be a center providing cultural activities for tourism, promote historic preservation and education.”
Borrego continued, “We are already doing most of these. We are currently hosting 88 free events a year. We host everything from monthly tours of the district, the Billy the Kid festival, the upcoming Celebration of Our Cultural festival, and the Kris Kindle market prior to the Christmas Holidays. We hold 9 art markets a year with many local artists. We host about 20 Billy the Kid re-enactment shows a year. We host the ghost tours every first Friday of the month. We say that this is where culture is on exhibit all the time. Our slogan is “See it. Feel it. Believe it.”
Borrego’s family has deep roots in San Elizario. “This all started because I got into art.” He saw that various other privately owned art galleries in El Paso were closing down. He started showing his paintings in El Paso and then eventually at an improvised farmer’s market in the San Eli church plaza. He noticed that tourists were coming to see the history of the church and the area, but with no central organization or leadership. He had the epiphany that the area resembled, and surpassed, Santa Fe in terms of history, and size if the rest of the Mission Trail is included.
At first, the only plan was to have a small art gallery. Then the gallery evolved to having monthly art markets showcasing many El Paso area artists. Then that evolved to showing the area’s history like not only the San Elizario church, but also the newly expanded Veteran’s museum. Borrego would hope that El Pasoans would promote this area as much as the Mesilla area is usually promoted as a cultural tourist spot.
Borrego foresees the movement continuing, improving, and expanding under the leadership of the Historic Society. “Now, not only has it run the museum for the past 23 years, It’s the driving force of everything here. It’s the steward of the cultural district designation. It’s the steward of both of the National designations: National Historic District and National Historic Trail. Now we’re part of the Texas scene. We’re no longer just a historic chapel ‘in El Paso’. We are our own entity. We certainly have enough history. This is where Onate came to have a first meal with the Manzos. This is where the actual pass to the north was located. This is where the Salt War was located. The oldest Main Street in the US is located here. This is where the first county seat was located before there was even a town name ‘El Paso.’”
If you would like to experience a part of San Elizario’s 400 year history, there are many upcoming events you can attend. On November 9th and 10th, the area will host the 17th annual Veteran’s Day parade and celebration. The following weekend, Borrego is proud to show the 2nd annual “Celebration of Our Culture” which will showcase Native American culture from all over the southwest including presentations, talks, and dances from tribes as far away as Oklahoma. On December 6, 7, 8, the annual “Kris Kindle Market” will host over 50 vendors selling art, crafts and food.
photos and story by: Ricky Jimenez Carrasco
On Saturday, hundreds of big, bad bikers were spotted cruising the streets of the Mission valley in pink shirts, pink bandanas, even pink goatees. More than just a fashion statement, the bikers wore pink to show their solidarity for one of their own overcoming her battle with breast cancer. The Making Strides against Breast Cancer charity run was held in honor of Isela Reyes. It’s been only a few years since Isela received the news that she had been diagnosed. With the help from her friends, family, and doctors, Isela is currently in remission and doing much better.
At its worst, Isela’s cancer had reached Stage IV, where the cancer has metastasized, but where it is still treatable. She elected to have a bilateral mastectomy. She says that the most painful part of her ordeal was the change in appearance. “From one day to another the change is drastic. People react to the loss of hair and all the other things that can change with the cancer and then treatment. My family was very supportive. They never allowed me to think too much about and dwell on it.” She emphasized that her family was a big part of her recovery. “We really didn’t cry much. They said, let’s just make the best of it and let’s move on. I had a lot of surgeries and procedures, but we still had our regular cookouts and parties.”
One thing that Isela would advise for new patients is to get educated about their condition. “I asked alot of questions. Friends bought me books. The doctors gave me alot of information. I would get sad because I would read about the side effects of the medicines, but it was better to know what I could expect to happen. It was scary, but I just took it a day at a time.”
Martha Solis, from the American Cancer Society office in El Paso, also places importance on education. She explained the role of the ACS in a patient’s treatment. “We provide each patient with a specific portfolio that lays out the doctor’s orders, information of nutrition, chemotherapy, radiation, and other forms of treatment. We also have support groups and mentors for the patients. Isela wanted to know what to expect, and what better way than to meet other survivors to give guidance. Isela is already paying it back by providing support to newer patients.”
The key to a faster recovery rate and survivability to any cancer is early detection and education about one’s own health. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and it can be hereditary. “We want to stress that each woman do their self exams as soon as she is sexually active. As a woman, you have to get your monthly exams on top of your yearly doctor’s exams, no later than starting at age 21.”
Solis applauded Isela’s education and preparation as being essential to her recovery. “She got the proper information, but more important was that she got checked and detected early. The earlier you get detected, the quicker you can get treatment.
The biker run on Saturday raised around $2000, all that will be donated to the El Paso American Cancer Society. Terry Almanzar helped to organize the run in honor of Isela, her cousin. “She was diagnosed in 2010. When she started getting better, we decided to start this run last year. Now that she’s in full remission, we decided to continue the run to continue to bring awareness to the community.” The money will be used to get wigs, lymphedema sleeves, prosthesis, and treatment in general. When asked if she had any other comments about her charity run, Isela simply said, “It’s a blessing to be here. I’d like to thank all the bikers and sponsors for sharing their time and donations.”
With that said, Isela hopped onto her husband’s Harley and rode off with the rest of her bikers and continued the way she’s dealt with this ordeal: with a smile and surrounded by friends and family.
For more information about breast cancer and cancer in general: Call the El Paso office of the American Cancer Society at 915-633-1231 or go to www.cancer.org.