Meet the Models, SoCal: Rhonda Ganucheau

A simple scratch of an itch on Rhonda Ganuchea’s chest saved her life. In that quick moment she felt a bump that would turn out to be stage 2 invasive breast cancer. Her days would soon be filled carrying around her white binder from appointment to appointment making choices about her treatment. Given that she already had implants, her decisions on treatment and reconstruction felt heightened: “I knew no one else who had breast cancer and all of what you think you know and are strong/can handle, you don’t. I had to rely on people’s advice (doctors) who hadn’t walked this journey themselves before and that was hard.”

Nonetheless, Rhonda forged on and faced treatment head one. Due to COVID restrictions, her husband was not allowed in the hospital for surgery. It exacerbated an already arduous time, but Rhonda is quick to note the incredible group of family and friends surrounding her: “I have the best people and friends supporting me. My husband joked he could never sit down because the doorbell was always ringing with people delivering things.”

Though still in treatment (“I am not going to lie, I am struggling with hormone therapy. I am sore from my head to my toes”), Rhonda knows she is a survivor: “I am 56 years old with two grandkids and one on the way. I have a lot to live for and I am not ready to give up.” She hopes her journey can help inspire others facing the diagnosis, and subsequent slew of decisions, alone. When asked what advice she would give, she has three points: “First, cry. Get it out. I don’t care if you have to drive to a park and cry in your car. For me my most peaceful moments were alone in the shower crying where no one could hear or worry. Second is Amy Robach’s book, which really helped me. She was super honest about the emotions of a diagnosis. Lastly, stay positive. The glass is always half full.”