My Cancer Story

There’s a good chance I wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for my wife.

I still do everything in my power to make the holidays special for my family, no matter how I’m feeling.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, my boyfriend Michael and I were still in the beginning stages of our relationship.

What do you do when — after planning your life and working hard to achieve your dreams — your plans are interrupted by cancer?
I’m not a tanning guy, but my day-to-day job is all outside. Leading up to my diagnosis, I never wore sunscreen.
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There was a point in my journey when I said, “That’s it; I give up.” This cancer is so different from others, and I felt that no one knew what I was going through – emotionally, physically or spiritually. I looked different and I couldn’t eat. The feeding tube was one of the hardest parts for me.
More than two years ago, when Dr. Bain told me I had pancreatic cancer, my first thought was that nothing can take my 81 years away from me. I’ve had a long, happy life and know what it’s like to overcome hardships and learn important lessons.

I was told the tumor was inoperable and I had two years to live if I received chemotherapy and radiation. Just two years.

Most stories about cancer don’t begin with the word “luck.” But mine does.

I hope my story can help someone else, especially other young moms. So many people are depending on you, and it can feel so overwhelming. You’re tired and emotional, but you have to be strong in front of your kids. You don’t want them to worry, and that alone makes it doubly exhausting.

I was 27-years-old and went to my primary care doctor for a sore shoulder and a cough that only happened when I laughed. Given a recent backpacking trip, it made sense when his initial diagnosis was a shoulder strain. But as an extra precaution, he ordered a chest x-ray. That’s when he found the mass under my sternum, near my heart.