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MaryEllen Sheppard knew something was wrong as soon as she felt a thickened patch of skin on her right breast. She didn’t feel a lump, but knew the change was different enough to get it checked out. A mammogram and subsequent biopsy caught her by surprise.
She had breast cancer.
Looking to share her experience with other women coping with this disease, the 53-year-old mom (and new grandmother) from Tempe, Arizona, allowed a video crew from Mayo Clinic in Arizona to follow her on her journey.
MaryEllen let the cameras roll during her medical appointments at Mayo Clinic. Along the way she openly chronicles what it feels like to undergo chemotherapy and describes how the medical treatments and medications affected her daily life. She also lets viewers inside her genetic counseling session where she sought to find out if her triple negative breast cancer was inherited and the likelihood if she could ever genetically pass the risk of cancer on to her daughter and new granddaughter.
As this five-part series unfolds, MaryEllen also reveals her views on having to make herself a priority in her family, how she dealt with losing her hair, how she overcame her fear of a recurrence and how she takes care of herself now.
In this first episode, you’ll meet MaryEllen at her home as she recalls her reaction to her diagnosis and the fears that came with it.
We hope you’ll follow MaryEllen’s videos throughout October and early November on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog and we encourage you to post your comments on the series or post a message to MaryEllen after each new episode airs.