"I never felt alone in my struggle."
She found it. A lump the size of a pea. Just a week and a half later, Nicole was diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive breast cancer.
It was early February in 2015 when Nicole shared the news with her daughter, Madison. At the time of Nicole’s diagnosis, Madison was five years old.
But Nicole stayed strong for her family. “I wanted everything to be normal again,” she said. “And so did my daughter.”
A resident of Gladstone and a 2006 graduate of Escanaba High School, Nicole sought treatment close to home. Nicole asked her daughter to help cut her hair before beginning chemotherapy at UP Health System – Marquette, and continuing her treatment at UP Health System – Doctors Park in Escanaba.
“I wanted to involve Madison, to show her it would be OK,” Nicole recalls. “We took good care of each other. “
While the radiation therapy and chemo treatment tested her strength, the young mother felt welcomed by caregivers at UP Health System – Marquette and Doctors Park.
And the staff at Doctors Park welcomed Madison and helped her better understand her mother’s difficult journey. The two stayed side by side through the treatment. Nicole said of her daughter, “She was the best little nurse I could have asked for.”
From her diagnosis, through her treatment, to her continued check-ups at UP Health System – Doctors Park, Nicole said the staff was “always very approachable, they’re like family now. On my worst days, they would be there for me, hug me, and pick me back up.”
Nicole was surrounded by support. She said, “They always told me, ‘if you have any questions, even if it’s two in the morning, you can call.’ And that was true. They were always there for me. I never felt alone in my struggle.”
Nicole said her treatment at UP Health System – Marquette and UP Health System – Doctors Park was “nothing short of amazing.”
Inspired by the care she received, Nicole will begin a nursing program at Bay College in Escanaba in the fall of 2016. She and her daughter also began creating gift baskets for chemotherapy patients in the Upper Peninsula.
At the time she received her diagnosis, Nicole was 27. She is now free of cancer.
Nicole and her daughter Madison are back to enjoying life as they like it: fishing, bike rides, enjoying the outdoors, and spending time at the family camp in Nahma, just outside of Rapid River.
And Madison is glad that the world seems back to normal. Her mother’s hair has even grown back.
To learn more about Cancer Care at UP Health System, call 906.225.3500 or click here.
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