Breast Cancer Survivor: Mary Kurtz

When I first decided on doing a Breast Cancer Survivor blog I sent out an email to my fellow employees on who knew of anyone willing to do it. Within that day, Rhonda emailed me about her aunt. Who she calls "Aunt Shorty". She was super sweet, and helped set everything up, and went to pick up her Aunt and bring her to my office. 
Of course, I was nervous, I always am when meeting new people, but the second Mary walked into my office, my nervousness went away, because she was so friendly and made me feel at ease. We just began talking about how we both dislike the summer heat, and are excited for fall. I loved watching her poke fun at Rhonda for loving the summer heat. 
We began discussing some of my interview questions and immediately she began telling me everything. When I asked her about her family, she began telling me about her three kids, and all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I could just tell she was so proud of them all. She told me her hobbies were working in the yard, and raising the flowers, but she said she hadn't been able to do that for awhile. Mary began to tell me that she had been in the shower when she discovered it. She went and had a mammogram done, she said pretty quickly after the physician called, and she knew it wasn't good news. 
She said the feeling after being diagnosed was just shock, she couldn't believe it. But once she got over that shock, she knew she had to stay positive, and wasn't going to go to that dark place. Rhonda was there and she began to speak about how she never once heard her be negative or say anything negative. Mary began to tell me that she was never sick to her stomach or anything. I was absolutely amazed when I heard this. Especially when she told me that she had sixty-two doses of radiation. Mary believes that she was never sick because of her positive outlook on this experience.
Her and Rhonda began to tell me a story about her kids getting her a pink wig that lit up for Christmas. How when she put it on the grandkids laughed and thought it was the funniest thing. She told me that she had lost all of her hair, and when it started growing back, it was curly. Her hair looked like it was done at a salon and when she told me that it was naturally like that now, I couldn't believe it. I told her just this, and she looked at me and said "feel it, isn't it so soft?" 
Mary began to tell me about how her husband had died of a heart attack not one month before she started chemo. They were married fifty-six years. I couldn't even imagine the pain that she must have went through. And yet, Rhonda said you never once heard her say anything negative. She was always so strong.
She told me that her kids, and grandkids helped her through this and were her biggest support. Her nineteen year old granddaughter came and stayed with her, and helped her with anything she needed.
I asked her what advice she had for other women/men going through this, and she said to be positive, don't have a bad attitude. Her advice to family members is be the support, they need that. 
I asked her what she wanted people to know about this experience and about breast cancer in general, she said it's bad, but you can beat it. You have to stay positive. She told me a story about getting treatment, and how none of the medical professionals were sad or quiet about it but was happy, and laughing and joking with her. She told me that if you aren't positive, it will get you. 
She also mentioned the importance of self examination, and getting your yearly mammograms. But the most important thing is "Don't Give Up"
As I was interviewing her, I thought back to my previous interview with Attailie. They both had such similar answers. They both were strong, and positive and they both became survivors. They both said to not look at it as a death sentence. They both understood that they didn't have any other options but to be strong, to fight. And to do that is to be positive. 
I took her outside to get a picture with her and Rhonda. She hadn't been to our new location and was just admiring all of it. I just wanted to keep talking with her and being around her. She just made you happy to be around her. She made a comment that she was seventy-four years old. And let me tell you, she is as strong as any twenty-five year old. When we were outside ready to take a picture one of our salesmen, Larry Levin walked by and asked her "how are you doing young lady?" And I couldn't help but think that he was definitely right. 
She is definitely an inspiration to everyone. She is a shining example that you can keep going no matter what life throws at you. 

I want to thank her for letting me interview her, and taking time out of her day to come see me.
I want to thank Rhonda for reaching out to me and making all of this happen.
I also want to give a shout out to Sheryl Richardson for donating Pink Jenkins and Wynne cups to give away to these strong women for sharing their stories. 
If you didn't read Attailie's story make sure you do! Share these stories on Facebook!
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