Survivor of the Week: “I can’t save your breast, but I can save your life”
Here is a look at out first cancer survivor, Marybeth Fratus, walking down the runway at this years Catwalk for a Cure event!
I am a 2 year breast cancer survivor. I am a mom to my beautiful children Patrick and Elizabeth who are my world. I have been married to the love of my life Bob for 9 yrs and he has been there for me through sickness and health. We live in Carver,MA and I work for Citizens Bank now for 10yrs. I love walking on the beach and playing with my kids and most of all I LOVE LIFE and the most important thing I have EVER done was SURVIVE Cancer. I live each day to the fullest and I am always smiling.
When were you first diagnosed with breast cancer? How did it make you feel?
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct 9th, 2008. I felt like my whole world just crashed down on me and I felt very scared and hopeless and SCARED. I couldn’t sleep that night at all 😦 I also felt MAD as well.
Where did you receive treatment? Who was your doctor? What kind of treatment?
My oncologist was Dr Rolf Freter from Dana Farber in Weymouth. I had 8 rounds of Chemo and 33 radiation treatments and multiple surgeries at the Faulkner (this is where I met Bryan) he made me feel like I mattered and he always had a smile on his face 🙂 I had a bilatateral mastectomy on 04/24/09 and I was nervous but knew my amazing Dr’s would take the cancer out of my body for good 🙂 Thank you Dr. Suniti Nimbkar (breast Surgeon) and Dr. Terri Halperin (plastic surgeon) who made me “whole” again..I owe them my life bc they gave my kids their mommy back.
How did you cope with the breast cancer diagnosis?
I coped by talking with breast cancer survivors and my amazing friends and of course my husband who has been my ROCK throughout this whole ordeal. I didn’t go to a support group because I thought I could handle this on my own with the way I wanted to deal with it. I was very depressed and my anxiety levels were out of control but with the help of my Dr’s I am on medication for it till this day. I hope 1 day I can be medication free.
How did you cope with the treatment side effects? Pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological? Herbal remedies? Spirituality?
I had my good and bad days but mostly bad days. I would have chemo every 3 weeks and herceptin every week so I would be very sick 1 day after chemo and be in bed for 3-4 days but I had to take care of my kids so I made myself get up and tried not to feel sorry for myself. I had to take nausea meds and that helped with the vomiting. I also did Reiki and that helped tremedously.
Are there any events or charities you take part in?
I was going to take part in the Avon walk for breast cancer but beacme very sick last yr so my amazing hubby Bob took my place and walked 40 miles in honor of me 🙂 I am going to take part in it next year. Bob walked it again for me this year as I was still recovering from all my surgeries.
The advice I would give is to take 1 day at a time and know that your Dr’s are their for you every step of the way. It is very scary getting dx with cancer but with a little HOPE FAITH and COURAGE miracles happen every day!! take it from a SURVIVOR who has been through hell and back and now is LOVING and living her life Cancer free and 100% HEALTHY!!!!! I will leave you with something my breast surgeon told me when I was 1st dx: I can’t save your breast but I can SAVE your life and from that moment on I knew I was going to be OK!!! Thank you Bryan for putting this amazing Catwalk for Cure event on..I am very honored to be 1 of the models this year. I hope my story will inspire someone going through Breast cancer or who is a SURVIVOR!!!