Tell us about yourself.
I work full time as a Case Manager for the Lake Cumberland Area Development; I have been married to my husband, Ross, for almost 10 years and am the mother of 8 — I have two teenage sons and four teenage stepdaughters, and my husband and I have two daughters who we consider our miracle babies, Caroline and Courtney, who were born in 2008 (two years after finding out I had Stage IIIC Breast Cancer). We are on the go with our older children, watching them at various sports and school activities and of course, always chasing after our baby girls !!!
When were you diagnosed?
October 2006, age 34
How has cancer changed your outlook on life?
We never know where life is going to take us. Being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 34 was traumatic and scary for me and my family because no one in my family had ever had breast cancer. We started trying to educate ourselves and learned things we wished we didn't have to know. I had NONE of the characteristics of women in the statistics I read about. Cancer made me a fighter because I got mad about anyone ever having to hear about it — I was not going to let cancer win ! But most of all cancer made me AWARE of how many people it affects — it has no discrimination on who it affects and we need to all come together in the fight against it. I have a big family that I have to live for, and I won't give up fighting this disease.
What words of encouragement would you share with others with cancer?
Cancer is going to change your life forever. Its never something anyone wants to hear but if your willing to FIGHT it, you CAN be a SURVIVOR. Cancer may not always be "curable" but its very treatable. Listen to your doctors and to your own heart and mind to tell you what is going to the best way to treat YOU. Stay positive and focused and it will make you a stronger person.
Support this non-profit in honor of Melody:
American Cancer Society, cancer.org
Please support those battling breast cancer by donating.