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By Alyssa Weston, Story330
Marie Dicesare feels like she was twice struck by lightning in 2017 and 2018.
First, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Then, she learned she had Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer.
But the cancer survivor didn’t let the thunderbolt diagnosis bury her beneath the ashes. Instead she was jolted to take her challenges head on and live life to the fullest.
“I didn’t let it get me down to the best of my ability. I don’t I don’t think I’ve changed a lick. I think I’m just the same as I was before, just a little bit smarter and a little bit wiser of things that I don’t take for granted a lot of things now,” Dicesare said.
After finding a lump on her breast in the shower, Dicesare visited the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center for a mammogram on January 2018. The tests showed two areas that required biopsies. Both areas had cancer cells present.
From there, she developed a relationship with Dr. Gant, Dr. Francis and Dr. Peterson at Joanie Abdu. Dicesare had surgery in March 2018, followed by eight chemotherapy treatments and 30 radiation treatments. In January 2019, she was given a clean bill of health.
She thought being diagnosed with cancer was never going to happen to her.
“Boy, you know, it’s a reality check. I learned that it can happen to anybody.”
But this reality check didn’t just affect her, Dicesare’s family shared the pain of her diagnosis, especially her parents and three kids.
“[My mother] was a lot better than I thought she would take it. My father was a wreck being that he was diagnosed with cancer twice (prostate and lung). He cried,” she said.
Dicesare’s youngest son, Jaden, was 9 at the time of her diagnosis.
“He had no idea what the heck was going on. He just knew that I was back and forth to the doctors and that I wasn’t feeling well. My older kids I think were a little confused, but they understood. But try explaining to the 9-year-old,” she said with tears in her eyes.
She had to stay strong – not only for her own sanity, but for her family, especially Jaden.
But Dicesare’s family was there to support her every step of the way. Her brother helped her shave off her hair once it started falling out from chemotherapy treatments. He told her if she was going to lose her hair, he had to be the one to shave it off for her.
“We are Indians fans and I said, ‘there’s an Indians game on tonight. Let’s order pizza and let’s shave this head.’ So, he did. He came over on that night. It was a Thursday night. And we sat there, then he shaved what was left,” she said. “I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that with me.”
Although Dicesare has not attended Panerathon, she is interested in attending in 2019 and feeling the positive energy the event provides for cancer patients and survivors alike.
Dicesare said her experience at Joanie Abdu was wonderful and she was welcomed with open arms.
“I hope I never have to go through this again. But, if I did ever have to go through this again, I would come back here without a second thought.”