We are honored to share the inspiring story of reindeerteam customer, yoga instructor, breast cancer survivor and friend, Mary.
Mary is bravely sharing her story, in hopes that it will educate and inspire others.
Read on to learn more about Mary, in her own words - raw and real.
In March of 2017, I found a lump in my left breast as I was showering.
My Mom had breast cancer, so over the years I’ve had periodic mammograms and know I have dense breast tissue. Because of this, I didn’t freak out when I felt the lump. I just thought ‘oh I’ve never noticed that before’ and thought it was probably some fibrous breast tissue like the Doctors' have told me I have.
I got out of the shower and got my husband, Mark, to feel it too. As expected, he was extremely worried so decided to stop by the Doctor's office to get some advice and I went on with my day.
I was driving to yoga training when I got a call from Mark, who asked that I please turn around and go to the Doctor's office to get the lump checked. I did, and that was the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer and put on a speedy path through diagnosis and treatment.
I was in shock and disbelief, but I didn’t have time to overthink it because I was immediately thrust into treatment. First up were six rounds of chemotherapy, every three weeks and in anticipation of going bald, I chopped off all my hair before my first round.
Chemo was hell, I was sick, exhausted, aching and bald. As soon as I would feel better, it would be time for another round of chemo, but I didn’t let that stop me. The weeks I did feel good, I would spend having lunch with friends, teaching a yoga class and just enjoying still being me.
It was tough, but there was light in the process, including my husband who was amazing, total love and support. The amazing nurses who managed the hours of infusing the scary drugs, they were lighthearted, down to earth and angels in the chemo room and my dogs, who were literally attached to me, spending hours by my side when I was recuperating from chemo.
I got through it all, the sickness, the hair loss, the aches, and pains. This experience reminded me that everything passes, and I am stronger than I thought.
The chemotherapy obliterated my tumor and stopped cancer from progressing through more of my lymph nodes (six were found to have evidence of cancer). However, I still needed surgery to have some tissue near where the tumor was and some of the lymph nodes under my arm removed.
Six weeks later, I had 15 rounds of radiation. Compared to the chemo, surgery was a breeze and It was a relief to know the cancer was gone.
My cancer was both HER2 (human growth hormone) and estrogen positive, I need to continue with injections to block HER2 and estrogen, but I am here, 18 months after I discovered the lump and cancer free!
I’m back to living my life with more gratitude for each day, I’m back to teaching yoga and I’m simply enjoying life, knowing how fortunate I am.
Through it all, I kept up a gentle yoga practice and I now feel stronger, not only physically but mentally and I now know that I can handle more than I ever thought I could.