Thursday, July 5, 2012


  Seven months ago, this week, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and today I will undergo the LAST treatment to make sure it is out of my body!  The 30th of 30 radiation treatments follows the four months of chemo-hell and the lumpectomy that got the tumor out!  I saw a quote from Winston Churchill on Facebook last week that I think sums up any battle against cancer:  "When you're going through Hell...Keep going!"
  As the chemo fog clears, and I begin to feel more like myself, the hellish part is more real.  In a way, while you're in the middle of that fog, and under the emotions of battle, you don't realize how dense and thick it is.  I can now admit that I was tired and sick almost every day, but ignored it.  The tough mom can't let anyone see a chink in her armor, and subconsciously, didn't want the opponent to see it either.
  I felt odd yesterday, when South Salt Lake City honored me as the Grand Marshall of their parade, because the theme was "Courage."  They said I displayed courage in going public with this personal battle... in how I've used this evil disease to encourage others to get screened... and in how staying public with it inspires others to push through life's battles.  I think real courage is what our troops, firefighters, police, and other heroes have when they choose to do the amazing things they do.  I didn't choose cancer.  No one does.  And to me, it wasn't a choice of whether to battle or not... it was a choice to just be stubborn and get through it!  I'd love to see a parade theme of "Stubbornness!"
  Keep going!  That's what we did when we were in Orlando last month.  We paid for a full day in Universal Studios theme park, and we were going to get our money's worth of fun, even though tropical storm Debby dumped sheets of rain on us...non-stop.  No exaggeration!  It poured all day!  A couple trips on the Harry Potter Dragon coaster melted my eyelash glue 'til it was dripping down my face. (Eventually forming a transparent crust down the sides of my face!)  I sat on a bench and pulled out my little tube of glue to do repairs...not caring that other sopping wet revelers could see.  And for the record- we got our money's worth and had a total soaking wet blast!
 Wet day at Universal Orlando!

  The hair, eyelash, and eyebrow dilemmas are the lingering daily pains-in-the-butt from chemo, and even with them, there are signs of recovery!  I noticed twisty little eyebrow hairs just this morning, and felt microscopic stubbles of eyelash too.  Most of my hair is a little over a half inch long, and it's an odd texture.  Some is strong and straight, and other hairs are thin and whispy, like baby hair.  It came in about 95% white, and I plan to color it tonight, so I can go wig-less when we celebrate with a family getaway weekend!
  It does keep getting better if you keep going.  I still come back to that quote and love the dual meaning of the words.  If you are going through Hell...don't stop in the middle of it, or you'll be there forever!  KEEP GOING, and you'll get through it.  I'm sure it's one of many battles in my life, and we'll keep going...


  1. I'm so glad you are done with this phase of your cancer story. Reading your update reminded me of the details of my son's radiation that have been tucked away in my memory bank for a few years, obviously not forgotten but definitely not front and center anymore. The sunburn-ish heat rash you described was what he had on his thigh as we literally raced from his last radiation treatment to the airport for his Make-a-Wish trip to Orlando. It didn't slow him down much. Your "keep going" attitude is so much like his was and is exactly what I need to hear. God bless you for your strength! Julie Barr

  2. So glad to hear you are doing well. So excited for you.

  3. Congrates Mary!!!! although it may not really be a milestone but at the same time it is one... you have done it and with that there is that saying "
    Fear no evil" you have over came the evil that wanted to try and take over your body but you had the strength and courage to not let the evil win.... Congrates again for over coming something so horrible that likes to try and take so may people from us everyday...

  4. BRAVO, standing ovation from Highland.... Hope the rest of your summer is smooth and wonderfully life affirming... YOU are courage and stubbornness rolled into GIVE THAT CANCER THE BOOT

  5. So glad to hear you went through hell and made it out the other side. Your example is a strength to many of us.

  6. Oh, so glad you are near the end of it. I had to have a follow up mammogram this past week, and all week my stomach was in knots. What if... what if....

    But you have shown that breast cancer doesn't have to end your life, it just changes your life.

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Hey Mary -
    It was great reading your blog today! I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer about two months after you. I am a young mom (37) of three kids and watching and reading about your story helped me realize that I was not alone through this battle. I found myself just wanting that "Life is Normal" feeling back and knowing someone else who was going through the same thing brought some Normal back. Thank You and good luck! Watching people do hard things is very inspiring and you have definitely inspired many!! Thank you!

  8. Mary, I'm so glad your treatments are over! What a huge relief that must be.

    I was diagnosed with Stage 2 colon cancer 6 weeks ago and had 6" of my bowel removed 2 1/2 weeks ago. I will start chemotherapy in 3 weeks and it will take 24 weeks. I'm scared about having chemo, but I'm more scared of having cancer come back. So I will be very stubborn, and yes, brave, just like you and just do it.

    Thanks for writing about all this. It helps me feel less afraid.

  9. Hooray! We did it! It was fun to chat with you a bit at our Radiation treatments. I will miss the chats, but I will not miss going there every day.
    Good luck with the hair re-growth. We have been trying to take a picture of mine once a week so we can put them all together in a slide show. It's amazing to look back and see how much it has grown and how fast. It feels like a dream though.
    I share your sentiments about the chemo fog. It's hard to believe that it was only a few months ago that I was going through that hell and now here I am on the other side ready to put it behind me.
    Here's to kicking cancer in the butt! :)

  10. Mary, I found your blog through someone else's blog. I can so identify with you. My diagnosis came in January of 2011, triple negative also, had four months of chemo, lumpectomy and then partial mastectomy of left breast, and 33 radiation treatments. I last radiation was on October 20, 2011. My hair came back mostly gray, but I colored it as soon as there was enough to color. My chemo brain is finally cleared and I cannot use that as an excuse anymore! Ha. I haven't updated my blog in a long time but if you would like to visit it and read more of my journey it is at Best wishes to you

  11. I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer July 2011. I went through 6 months of chemo with a month of radiation treatment. I was cancer free for a whole month until mine came back. I am starting chemo again. Your blog has helped me to keep fighting. Thank you for sharing your personal feelings.

  12. congrats to you! I am a 12 year breast cancer survivor, though at diagnosis, the docs told me the odds were not in my favor. I had several positive lymph nodes, but blessedly the cancer has not shown up anywhere else. Just keep fighting - there is plenty of life after cancer! It does not define you or your future.
    Life is great... 12 years and counting!
    Best of luck to you.

  13. Mary, thank you for sharing your story. I watched your story on the news last night while in the hospital. About 4 weeks ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had 2/3 of my colon removed. After surgery my doctor told us that I was stage three and would need 6 months of chemo. Since surgery I have had a few set backs and was placed back into the hospital. I get released tomorrow so I can make it to my first appointment with my oncologist. I was so excited to see that I was going to be seeing Dr. Whisenant as well. This gave me a lot of confidence in the whole treatment. The worst part of it all is that I'm only 35 years old and shouldn't be getting colon cancer... Anyways, I've learned a lot from you and your blog and now I'm not so scared to go through everything. You look great!
    Thank you!

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  15. I am so grateful for miracles. My husband has had terminal pancreatitis 2 times in the past 5 years & recovered fully from each bout. This was not medically possible, but it is possible with prayers. Two days before his surgery to remove a stone in his pancreas which carried only a 10% survival rate his doctor told us everything had totally disappeared with his pancreatitis, including the stone & half dead pancreas! He is well now & driving a semi truck which he has done for 40 years now. I found out that I have uterine cancer on Mar. 1st, & had a total hysterectomy. They said they got all the cancer, then 4 weeks later at my post-op said I have grade 3 Uterine Papillary Serous Adenocarcinoma (UPSC as it is called).It is the worst form of uterine cancer. Luckily stage 1 ! I had 3 each of radiation & chemo. Now I am cancer free & feel very blessed! Going back to work as a nanny for 4 kids which I have done for 10 years. They also thought I had Lynch Syndrome which is genetic & means you can get many forms of cancer (90%) chance & basically a death sentence. It also disappeared when tested again! We believe in miracles through many prayers, & are praying for you too. I have many of the side effects like you & enjoyed reading your whole blog tonight. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Thanks much for sharing the truth about your whole ordeal (sick and tired every day). You have shown great courage... which is a strength to others.
    I was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 1, triple negative, at the end of May. Lumpectomy - done (margins and lymph nodes clear). Brachytherapy (radiation) - done. Chemo - I'm smack dab in the middle of (just had first treatment last thursday). Can't wait for five more treatments to be behind me... and hopefully get back on a more normal mindset.

  17. This is a very emotional post, thank you for sharing your personal experience on breast cancer diagnosis. Keep writing, good job. Glad to come across this post.

  18. Thank you for giving information on cancer treatment.It is really good and helpful for the people.Keep giving such a valuable information.
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  19. Glad to know that you have recovered well.The tips you provided will sure help to fight breast cancer,thanks for the informational post.One of the tips that i want to share is that Counter breast Cancer with Omega3 fatty acid It is helpful to reduce the danger of breast cancer.hope for your better future.

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