Mary's Story

While there were difficult times, when I look back I remember the positive things that came of my diagnosis.

My journey began with a pregnancy. It was July 2014, and I was on maternity leave with my beautiful 10-day-old daughter when I had a lump that wouldn't go away checked out. I thought it was changes due to pregnancy. As my milk came in and I began to breast feed, that side was producing less milk and was somewhat painful. After a whirlwind of tests, I found out I had stage 2 breast cancer. Treatment included six rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, and radiation.

Maternity and surgery created two extended leaves from work. The Hope Chest Emergency Assistance program was very helpful for me and my family during this time. It was so nice to concentrate on getting better rather than stress about the financial difficulties being away from work creates. Thank you!

My daughter is 2 now. It was both a blessing and a curse to have a newborn as I was going through cancer treatment. It was a welcomed distraction. She didn't know I was sick – I just got to be her Mom. This was also the curse. There were times that my needs had to come before hers. Side effects of chemo interrupted our time together. My 7-year-old son was a wonderful help.

Some words that helped me during treatment was "this too shall pass.” While there were difficult times, when I look back I remember the positive things that came of my diagnosis. My relationship with family and friends has grown stronger, and I was given such an outpouring of love and support from my community. This made all the bad things tolerable. I am forever a survivor and so proud to be a member of that club. The women I have met along the way have been incredible.

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