I am privileged to be joined in my fight against cancer by Marlene Sullivan, a nurse working at the Vernon Cancer Center at Newton- Wellesley Hospital. Her personal experience with cancer is heart-breaking and yet, inspirational.
Here is Marlene's story in her own words-
My name is Marlene Sullivan and I have the unique opportunity to represent Massachusetts General Center at Newton Wellesley Hospital as a Boston Marathon patient partner and a caregiver. I have been a nurse for over thirty years. In February of 2018, I began working at Newton Wellesley Cancer Center, in what I describe as my “dream job”, as an Oncology Nurse Navigator. I am blessed with the opportunity every day, to help our cancer patients and their loved ones to understand their diagnosis coordinate their care and help them to cope with the complexities of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. The moment I arrived at the Cancer Center and NWH , I knew that it was a very special place. The care, compassion and commitment exhibited by all the providers and support staff is unparalleled.
As fate would have it, two months later I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer-(TNBC). TNBC makes up about 10-20% of breast cancers. It is unique, in the fact that it is not fueled by hormones, as many breast cancers are. Therefore, it is not likely to respond to targeted hormone treatments. It is also considered to be a more aggressive and have a poorer prognosis, mainly because of the fewer targeted medicines for treatment and it tends to have a higher grade than other breast cancers. It is typically treated with a combination of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, as I have been treated. I am presently on my fourth different type of chemotherapy as a prevention of recurrence. Although I am familiar with and have been employed at other very prestigious Cancer Centers in the Boston area, I chose to be treated at NWH Cancer Center. From the moment of suspicion on my mammogram to this very day, I have been treated, as all our patients are, with support, compassion, respect and dignity.
I hope you can come out and donate to support Dr. Prabhu, my NWH Boston Marathon partner, and myself in our efforts to bring attention to all cancers and of providing prevention, early detection, treatment options and support for all.