Meet 10 Awesome Moms With Cancer
The inspiring stories of ten moms who faced cancer—including moms who were diagnosed during pregnacy—and won! Plus: Take our pledge to stay healthy for your self and your family!
Moms Still in Treatment
Stephanie Wood: 50, executive editor of Parenting
Type of cancer: Breast cancer
Diagnosed at: 46
Mom to: Matilda, 17, Anthony, 15, and Charlie, 11
“I am an eternal optimist, so I never thought something like this could happen to me. I had never been in a hospital except to give birth. But right before I was diagnosed, I had become stressed and exhausted. I blamed it on taking care of my mother, who was at the end of a long battle with endometrial cancer. I had really put myself on the back burner, even more than usual. So I blamed the way I was feeling on all of that, but finally my husband insisted I go to the doctor. He even made the appointment for me! It turned out I had developed hypothyroidism, which is why I could barely get myself out of bed. But I also had something else. The nurse-practitioner conducting my physical felt a thickening in my breast and sent me for an ultrasound and biopsy. If I hadn't had the thyroid problem, who knows when I would have found the cancer. It was in the lobes of my breast, which is harder to detect with self-exams, so I doubt I would have discovered it on my own. I went for the biopsy, but, again, being a glass-half-full kind of person, I was so sure it would be nothing that I didn't even remember to call the doctor for my results. Ultimately, they found five different spots of cancer in my breast. I had a mastectomy, chemo, and reconstruction, and am taking Tamoxifen. It's been four years, and I'm now cancer-free, but if my husband hadn't insisted I go to the doctor, who knows where I'd be right now.”
Katie S.: 31, oncology nurse
Type of cancer: Salivary gland tumor
Diagnosed at: 30
Mom to: Jack, 14 months
“I had six and a half weeks of head and neck radiation. I'd be strapped down with a mask pushing on my face, screwed to the table. Grown men would refuse the treatment. It was a horror show, but knowing I had to be there for Jack gave me strength. I wanted his life to be normal and happy.
“I'm still trying to pull something positive from this experience. I'm starting to realize that humans are so resilient. Somewhere deep inside us is the instinct to survive. To be able to move on. To be able to find joy in life again. I'm not there yet, but I can see it on the horizon. I guess I'm even stronger than I thought.”