Help Mary Kate fight Breast Cancer

These are Mary Kate's own words posted by her long time friend, Carolyn Schoemer:

Four words a woman never wants to hear: Cancer, Malignancy, Recurrence and Mastectomy.

"I was diagnosed in 2008 with Stage 3 Breast Cancer and a mastectomy was recommended. I was scared, I discovered the lump and knew in my heart it was cancer. I was courageous up until my breast surgeon took a biopsy and actually said the word "cancer" out loud. I completely fell apart. I started crying and apologizing for crying at the same time. You feel scared and dumb...scared that you had the big C and dumb because you had to stop being brave and cry.

I decided on a bi-lateral mastectomy because I wanted to be safe. Of course, I never considered a recurrence...they had taken two breasts and my right pad of lympnodes. What more could I give? I endured two sets of chemo and a five hour operation. I gave myself Neulasta stomach injections after every chemo treatment and had radiation. Oh, and one more thing, I was bald. I finally felt safe though. I threw out my wig and went back to work.

In 2012, my right arm was in pain and I was experiencing shortness of breath. I figured carpal tunnel and a lack of exercise. No such luck. A chest Xray and CAT scan revealed malignant fluid in both my lungs. My cancer had returned. Never did I anticipate a recurrence. I was put on oxygen 24/7 to help with my breathing and tubes were placed in both lungs to drain the fluid. A Bone Scan was ordered to see the extent of my cancer and a CAT scan was ordered because of pain in my right arm.

There is a tumor on my spine pushing against the nerve in my right arm thus the excruciating pain in my right arm. And the bone scan divulged cancer was in my bones, liver, spine, and of course my lungs. I was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer.

My diagnosis is very serious. I'm currently undergoing chemo every week and I take a cancer inhibitor pill every night. I have Neuropathy in both hands and my toes. I'm right handed so I can't drive nor can I write very well. The good news is that the chemo drug I'm on is working and I'm off oxygen. But, I have been unable to work since the summer "˜12 as I have severe fatigue and am exhausted all the time because of the chemo. I need your help because I currently do not have health insurance and no income. I've sold my car and am trying to get disability. I need to raise cash until I am able to get back to work. It has been difficult for me to ask for help because I've worked all my life. I grew up in The Bronx went to St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School worked since I was 17 moved to Westchester County in my 20's and put myself through Iona College in New Rochelle at night.

As a single mom, I was a Cub Scout leader in my community, a CCD teacher for 8 years and professionally was President of the Women's Council of Realtor's Empire Chapter. I have been a Realtor for the past 25 years and love what I do but it's all commission based. I'm struggling in my own body. It's frustrating being unable to work or to do simple things like open a jar. I have cancer in my bones so falling isn't an option. I have lost 33 lbs.

My chemo treatments end in August '13 but with Metastatic Breast Cancer you are on some form of drug or chemo for the rest of your life and scans every three months. I can't wait to get back to work doing what I love but it takes time.

I know there are many women who are enduring breast cancer now and I wish them hope, inner strength and most of all courage to cry without apology."

(All donations will go directly to Mary Kate's bank account once we reach our goal. Every little bit helps. Thank you!)

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Carolyn Schoemer 
White Plains, NY
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