Stay Strong | Mary

October 9, 2020

Filed in: Stay Strong

Meet Mary! Mary was the sweetest and I loved her personality! When hard times come her way, she is ready with gloves on and a sense of humor to face it all!  She is so beautiful inside and out and her soul radiates with peace!

Mary and her family started to tell me a little bit more in detail of her story and that had me laughing and in tears, her story really touched me.  Below is her story, her fight, her strength and her sense of humor.

Mary was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. She had some pain in her left breast but she thought it was cystic mastitis, which was a condition she was diagnosed with in her 20’s. When the pain finally got unbearable she went to the doctor and was given the news that she had stage 4 breast cancer.  As the doctors gently explained the steps that would have to come next, her only question was, ‘ Can you take the right one too, I don’t want to be lopsided.’ In her true comical self when they asked about reconstruction she declined because she wasn’t a topless dancer and looked forward to being shirtless with her brothers in the summer.

So the surgery was set and everything went smooth, until she saw herself afterwards in a mirror and proclaimed, ‘Holy crap! I didn’t know my stomach was so big!’ Soon after, she began chemo. Back then it was called the Red Devil. It was a very rough time, even for tough Mary. She had trouble eating, sleeping and just managing the overall sickness. To make matters worse she lost all her hair and to her demise, she looked just like her brothers!

Through the care and love from her family and friends she overcame breast cancer and was stronger than ever. Afterwards, she was faithful in going to every appointment. She built strong relationships with all of her different health care team members by her personality and her positive outlook on life.  Every one would always remember Mary because you just never knew what she was going to say next.

Fast forward to 2019, she went to a regular check up with her family physician and everything was normal. There were no signs or symptoms of anything wrong.  Mary’s doctor told her that she qualified for a free Medicare lung scan and asked if she wanted to do it.  Mary said, “Ok!” Imagine everyone’s surprise when the scan came back with a tumor in her right lung.  Her health care team members immediately took action and she was scheduled for a PET scan. There are very few things that Mary is afraid of, Dentists and closed spaces are at the top of those things for her. For those who don’t know, a PET scan is a full body scan where you have to lay down very still inside of a tube and the only way Mary was able to complete this task was thru the help of anxiety medication. The tube scared her more than having cancer.

After getting the size and location of the tumor, surgery was set for a biopsy. She then was told it was small cell lung cancer. This form of cancer spreads and grows quickly so she had to take action fast.  The next week she started chemotherapy and those days at treatment center she kept the staff laughing and had pleasant conversations with the other patients if they wanted to talk.  Mary had a loved one by her side every step of the way. When chemo was completed she started radiation. The doctor that would be in charge of her radiation treatments told her that the type of cancer she had could move up. So he would not only be treating her lungs with radiation but he would also treat her head.  She replied, ‘Please be careful, I don’t have much up there already.’

After all of the radiation was completed she began immunotherapy. Here we are almost a year later. She continues to go to immunotherapy and maintains her check ups. She says she feels wonderful but she stays faithful to her appointments, doctors orders, and her religious beliefs because she knows too well how quickly things can change. She still has the best personality and maintains her positive outlook. Her life motto is, ‘It will all work out.’ Her advice for others is, ‘ Don’t dwell on the cancer. Or anything else for that matter. If you dwell on the negative you will miss out on the positive. We are all going to die one way or another. Enjoy life. Take time to smell the roses.’

Her outlook on life is very touching and something we all can do whether we have cancer, another type of illness or just plain healthy! We need to tell ourselves that life is short and to enjoy it as much as you can!  I am right there with Mary, I do try and life my life to the fullest but I do need to work on more of  a positive outlook like she does! Mary is very inspirational, encouraging and her hearts overflows with love and positivity!

I am so grateful that I met her and got to hear her story, but most importantly, share her story for you!

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