• By Laurel Kelly

In the Loop: Breast cancer survivor continues to (up) lift her way through life

October 2, 2018

In the Loop patient Marianne Huebner, Ph.D., participating in a weightlifing competitionWhen she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Marianne Huebner feared her days of competitive weightlifting were over. Her care team at Mayo Clinic had other ideas.

Marianne Huebner, Ph.D., was just a few months into her newly adopted hobby of weightlifting when she noticed a small lump on one of her breasts during a self-exam. "I thought it was a cyst, so I didn't do anything right away," she tells our friends at Sharing Mayo Clinic. Instead, Marianne waited until her next annual health exam before mentioning it to her primary care physician. "I was then sent for a biopsy, and it turned out to be cancerous," she says.

Marianne, an associate professor of statistics and probability at Michigan State University, had spent a considerable amount of time analyzing breast cancer-related data alongside and in collaboration with surgeons at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. But that research did little to prepare her for her own diagnosis. "At the time of a cancer diagnosis, one experiences an onslaught of information, uncertainty and confusion," she says. "There were so many questions I'd never thought about before."

Not all of those questions were about her immediate treatment plan or long-term prognosis as one might assume. "My initial reaction was, 'Oh, no! How can I possibly do weightlifting now?'" she says.

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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.