MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The color pink represents National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
But for women like Rachel Smith, that wasn't the case.
"It takes you to a really dark time, dark place, when you go through something like this," said Smith.
Smith was diagnosed in 2010 with stage 0 breast cancer after doctors found abnormal cells in her breast.
"The first year I was very depressed, breast cancer is not pink. It's not pretty pink bows. It wasn't like that for me," said Smith. "I commend the whole pink program, because it raises awareness. But that's not how it was for me."
You may think that just because it's stage 0, it's just an early stage for breast cancer, but for Smith, she said it's nothing to sugar coat.
"It's very painful. For two solid years I was in constant pain, constant," she said. "I had to learn how to walk again, I had to learn how to breathe again."
Stage 0 is an early non-invasive form of breast cancer where there is a presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast.
"It was stage 0 but when they went in there, it actually had spread," she said.
With reconstructive surgery and medication, Rachel spent days at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston with tubes attached and constant bleeding on her stomach, she spent nights wondering when the pain will ever go away.
"Everything changes, like my skin, the hair became really thin with all the medication I was on," said Smith. "Things go wrong. Surgical parts of it opened, it wasn't the surgeons fault. It happens."
She said the recovery time after the surgery led to at least three more surgeries. But that didn't stop her from fighting her battle with the deadly cancer.
"I thought once they got it rid of it, I'd be just fine. But no," she said.
Now Smith is five years cancer-free and she wants other women to know the importance of check-ups and to not stay silent no matter what, early cancer stages or not, to speak out, because it could save your life.
"Don't shut down. I didn't shut down. I need my family," said Smith. "Surround yourself with positive people. I asked for nothing but prayers. If it happens again, it's not like I would change anything. I would just keep on fighting."