I am 31 years old and a two-time breast cancer survivor! I was first diagnosed on July 23, 2010, the day after my 24th birthday, with stage llA breast cancer. Newly engaged, my fiancé Nathan and I decided we wanted to fight the battle as husband and wife and were married at the courthouse a week after my first chemotherapy treatment.
I went through fertility treatments, four months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and hormonal therapy and was living a healthy cancer-free life for over four years. We hoped to start our family once I finished hormonal therapy, but on May 18, 2015, I received heartbreaking news that my cancer had returned.
Treatment the second time around was more aggressive—18 weekly rounds of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and more surgeries. Every week before “Chemo Tuesday,” Nathan and I would have a pre-chemo dance party as a way to spend five minutes celebrating life and not thinking about cancer.
Although I’m now cancer-free, I will never be able to carry a child, due to my continued treatment and history. This discouraging news was the hardest for us to accept, but we did not give up hope. We were blessed to find a surrogate to help us start a family after breast cancer. In October 2017, Peyton Andrew Hunt was born. We were beyond ready for this baby!
Since being diagnosed, I am always trying to raise awareness that breast cancer can happen to anyone, regardless of age. I’m very open with my story, hoping I can help and inspire others who may be going through a similar situation. I also like to remind people to stay positive during difficult times. Don’t let your worries of tomorrow steal your happiness of today.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Thanks to The James and my wonderful doctors I am cancer-free! When people ask me how I’m doing, I’m often told I am strong or an inspiration to them for beating cancer. I don’t think I was the strong one. I had no choice but to fight. The strong people are the ones who supported me throughout my journey. They did have a choice, and they stood by our family without hesitation.
My mom Pauline, my sister Mary and my brother-in-law Greg were great chemo buddies and babysitters. My husband Scott was at almost every doctor appointment. He took care of the house and children when I couldn’t. He took care of me after my surgery and did things for me that I don’t know if I could do for him. When I needed help with something, no matter how big or small it was, he was always there. Scott not only had me to take care of, but his mother was diagnosed with cancer during the same time. He held our family together while working full-time and taking care of two family members with cancer. Unfortunately, his mother Jan lost her battle with cancer.
My children, Abigail and Emily, are also the strong ones. They continued to do well in school and took on more responsibility around the house. It was hard to see the worry in their eyes, but they pressed on despite all of the things going on around them. Our neighbors, friends, community and employers also provided us with support. When I see shirts that say “cancer survivor,” I think of everyone in my family and those who helped us through this journey. Not just me. We are all survivors.