Breast cancer - Diagnosed April 1999
Maggie?Truchan, left, and Barb Ballint.
My cancer story:
My story begins long before my diagnosis. I went to work for the American Cancer Society in 1989 because I felt it was a way to give back after losing my mother to cancer. Fast forward to 1991 and yet another loved one heard the words "you have cancer," as my youngest sister was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I am happy to say she is now a 22-year cancer survivor. I now knew what it was like to watch cancer take someone I love, to work with passionate volunteers and staff with the American Cancer Society, and to celebrate a story of survivorship through my sister. Little did I know, my cancer journey was just beginning.
In April of 1999, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had taken the day off work to attend a grandparents' day event with my grandsons. That is when I received the phone call. The surgeon on the other end told me "We have good news, and we have bad news." The bad news was, of course, I had cancer and would need to undergo a mastectomy. Luckily, the good news was the doctors were confident they would be able to get all of the cancer with surgery and I would not need treatment. I am very blessed to be able to say that within a month of that phone call I had undergone surgery and was cancer free. Four years had passed and yet another sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am happy to say she, too, is a survivor.
When I was diagnosed, I had already been involved with Relay. However, after my first survivor lap in 1999, Relay For Life took on a whole new meaning. That lap was a turning point for me as a Relayer and how I felt as I took it will forever be etched on my heart. Because of Relay, there are many new people in my life I am so grateful I have had the chance to meet.
I realize that as a result of hardworking Relayers, The American Cancer Society has been able to fund important research and each year the survivor lap and each survivor walking it is proof of how important that research is. I will continue to be a part of Relay For Life until the day we finish the fight against cancer and find a cure.
The day I was informed of my diagnosis, my husband, Chet, said to me, "This is a bump in the road and we will get through this." With his and my families help and our faith in God, I am a survivor.
Lessons learned on your cancer journey:
Cancer has taught me the importance of each new day. I thank God every morning for this gift of life.
Message to newly diagnosed and patients in treatment:
Always have faith in God and do not be afraid to reach out for support from others.
Maggie is the Relay For Life of Belmont County Co-Chair and a member of the Fall In Step Relay team. She also serves as a Champion for the Cancer Prevention Study-3 and will volunteer at study enrollment sites this coming week. Lastly, Maggie volunteered last night at the 2nd annual GLOW 5K Run/ Walk. If you would like to get involved with Relay For Life call 888-227-6446 x3206 or visit www.relayforlife.org/belmontcounty. Anyone that would like to enroll in the Cancer Prevention Study can visit www.belmontcps3.org.