Mary Jennings-Smith, of California, was diagnosed in April 2005 with inflammatory and invasive breast cancer and began one year of treatment. During treatment she continued to work in the psychology and counseling field, which she found helped her stay focused on more than the breast cancer. She waited a year after treatment ended to have reconstruction of both breasts.
Mary was taking an aromatase inhibitor at the time. At one point, her doctor suggested she switch to another kind. In the summer of 2008, three years after her initial diagnosis, her doctor told her she needed a PET scan. The scan showed the cancer had come back in her bones. She had metastatic breast cancer.
“I worked for another year while going through two different chemotherapies,” Mary says. “[Then] realized that time was more important to me than working at a job that I loved. I wanted to see the world and spend time with my family. I also wanted to learn more about MBC and see if I could educate myself and help other women who were going through what I was, too.”
Mary took a course on biology of cancer through Project LEAD and became a breast cancer advocate for a couple of years. But she found she missed working with people. She found Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
“I knew this was an organization I wanted to work with,” she says. “I have volunteered with them since April 2013.”