We're back with another double feature of not one but two inspiring Eye of the Survivor members!
Meet Terri Marcano and Jacqui Gross, our March and April Survivors, respectively. Each one is a breast cancer survivor and each one has a unique story to share.
Terri learned she had breast cancer after a self-examination led her to discover a lump in her right breast. With subsequent testing, and finally a biopsy, it was determined that Terri had Triple Negative/Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She also tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene.
Terri recalls one distinct question and affirmation from her first visit with her oncologist.
"Do you have a strong support system? Because you are going to need one."
Terri reflected. She didn’t.
As a single mom of four daughters Terri was used to handling everything herself.
"The issue with always being strong and self-reliant is that people do not think to really check in on you as often as you may need," she said.
So, Terri took care of her kids, her house, herself, drove to and from appointments and treatment, praying deeply for the energy to keep up with everything.
"Ask me how I did it and I will always say, 'Nothing but God and my inner warrior having a conversation every minute of the day,'" she said.
The journey has been intense, to say the least, and continues. Terri is presently fighting her fourth recurrence with breast cancer after her initial diagnosis in 2018. Still, she is filled with determination and gratitude.
"I am here. Thank you, God!" she said.
Next up we have Jacqui. Her journey sparked from a routine mammogram. When something abnormal was detected, further scans and testing confirmed she had breast cancer.
"I am truly thankful that my radiologist went with her gut and decided to investigate," she said.
For Jacqui, she felt her support system immediately strengthened and credits the support of her husband and children for helping her endure the journey.
Even so, like Terri, regardless if your support system is solo or 4 deep, the common denominator is the indomitable strength within you!
In further proving what we mean, it's important to mention, Terri only had that mammogram because she pushed for it. Knowing her grandmother had breast cancer at 46, Jacqui insisted on starting annual screenings herself at age 40. Had she not taken that initiative, her journey could be quite different. And this year marks five years cancer-free.
"To look back and see how far my life has come is a tremendous milestone for me," she said.
Nowadays, Jacqui just wants to pay it forward by sharing her experience with as many people as she can.
"My wish for others is that you allow yourself to feel, and to dig deep to get in touch with your emotions," she said. "Ask questions, gather information, and then ask again."
Thank you for joining us, until next time keep up with us on Instagram and always keep your Eye on Strength!