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Survivor Stories 2013: Marsha Barrett

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Survivor Stories 2013:
Marsha Barrett

1. How did you first find out you had cancer?

Routine annual mammogram

2. How did you react when you heard the news?

As I sat looking at the sonogram, I saw a picture-perfect tumor. No one had to tell me what it was. In that moment, I thought, one in eight women get breast cancer, what made me think I was special. I thought, I want to die laughing. I decided to get rid of all my anger, all my grudges, all my pet peeves and I did. I am a fighter, so I knew that I would be heavily involved in my treatment.

3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?

Lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and chemo pills for several years after.

4. What most surprised you about your treatment?

Surprised is not the word I would use. Choosing my Oncologist and treatment center was the hardest part of the process for me. But, because I had done research, I felt I made a good choice. I did a lot of research and it paid off. I understood my type of cancer and various treatments and outcomes. This helped in my conversations with various doctors. At my local library, I read a lot of books by cancer survivors and appreciated their various approaches to their cancer and their treatments and their outcomes.

5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?

• Know what type of cancer you have.

• Research your treatments and outcomes.

• Join a support group that works for you.

I joined breastcancer2@yahoogroups.com an online support group that helped me a lot. These women are no nonsense women who faced far greater issues than I did. They are my heroines.

6. How long have you been cancer free?

While I have not had a cancer relapse, I consider 2013 my breakout year. I was given a 70% chance to survive until 2013.

7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?

I thank god everyday for my cancer. I grew up in seconds looking at the sonogram image. I am more grateful everyday for the smallest things. I can take a full lungful of air. I can breathe. I can walk. I can eat. I can go to the bathroom (no joke, some people have major problems with this). I appreciate my family and friends. I am more respectful. I am more responsible. I am more loving.

But, in 2002, I had good health care coverage. I would not have received the same treatment if I did not have good health care coverage.

8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?

Perspective plays a large role in the quality of your life.

Marsha is a former typesetter, avid book lover, aspiring novelist, now living in Mexico.

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