Age: 52 8_Mary Caldwell
Profession: Foreign Receiving Clerk
Type of Breast Cancer: Estrogen Receptor Positive
Number of years as a survivor: 5 years
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Race participant

In June 2012, I went in for my yearly mammogram and the results showed everything was normal. Later that year, I casually ran my hand across my right breast, and felt a lump. The very next morning I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. During the visit, we discussed the importance of scheduling another mammogram and ultrasound. Within two days, I went in for the prescribed exams. In the course of the exam, the technician who was performing the mammogram told me she would be right back, she returned with the chief radiologist. I listened, without tears, as the doctor explained that I didn’t just have one lump, rather I had another lump forming underneath the lump that I found. With a pressing sense of urgency, I was scheduled to have a biopsy performed the next day.

On December 21, 2012, I was diagnosed with Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Cancer. I didn’t know what to make of this. Questions filled my head: “How? Why?” There was no history of breast cancer in my family. I went home to tell my husband the results, I finally cried!

My husband and I made the decision not to tell our oldest son. At the time, he was joining the Navy, and I needed him to be focused on his next step in life not the cancer. The next few weeks became about the future; his and mine. On February 5, 2013 I drove my son to the recruiter’s office; February 6, I went to his swearing in; on February 7, I had surgery to remove my right breast. On April 7, after my son graduated from basic training, I told him I had breast cancer. This was the time I needed to ensure he didn’t lose sight of his goals. As for me, my goals were to get better. On April 10, I started my first session of chemotherapy.

The scripture “Hope anchors the soul” (Hebrews 6:19) kept me going. Through my journey as a breast cancer survivor, I found a brand new me. Things I would postpone or wait to do, I don’t. Time waits for no one. I feel more emotionally and spiritually stronger, because I am a survivor. I choose not to be a victim. I choose start each day as a new beginning.

I fight every day, because I want to see my sons marry and have a family of their own. I fight every day to let newly diagnosed breast cancer patients know that they can and will survive!