The Coshocton County Beacon October 15, 2020 - Page 27

October 15 , 2020 The Beacon • 27

Survivor from Page 26

Evidence of Disease , which also is known as “ remission .”
“ You know I don ’ t remember much from that year , and the memories I do have are of pain , being sick , achy and tired . Even today I still have some long-term side effects from it all , and I am still taking medications too . But I survived , not just for me , but for my daughter , my family , friends and those who are still fighting the battle with cancer and for those who lost their fight ,” Mahon said .
“ We praise God every day for Tiffany beating cancer ,” Cindy Dalzell said . “ We praise him for the strength he gave her to get through each day when she thought she couldn ’ t get through it . Tiffany is a strong lady . She went through all of this and more , all the while being a single mother . We are proud of both our girls . Tiffany is an overcomer , and
even though Maddy had to grow up quickly , she is a strong , compassionate young woman .”
Maddy Mahon struggled to put into words how she felt about her mom and her mom being a breast cancer survivor . “ My mom surviving breast cancer has shown me that anything and everything is possible . And you can survive anything when you have the support and love of friends and family ,” she said .
Maddy Mahon went on to express , “ I know everyone says their hero is their mom or dad , but my mom is most definitely my hero . Here are the reasons why : One , she is a single mom who raised a daughter . Two , she kicked cancer ’ s butt . And three , she is the strongest person in the world that I know . She is mentally strong because she endured a lot , and she is physically strong because she won the fight with cancer . She is a breast cancer survivor .”
Tiffany Mahon was so happy when she heard the news that there was no
evidence of disease , and she felt proud of herself and like she had proven to herself and everyone around her that she was strong enough to beat cancer , especially given the type of cancer it was and her family ’ s history . Yet she admitted she struggled with doubts . “ Are they sure they got it all ? What if it comes back ? If it comes back , will I be as lucky ?”
And while every time she feels a new lump or bump or sees a skin mole change in shape or color and wants to call the doctor and be told it is not cancer so she can breathe again , she knows it doesn ’ t work that way . Actually , for Mahon , because of the gene mutation , she isn ’ t able to have blood drawn and her markers looked at or have a PET scan or MRI done , like some people can to confirm they are still in remission . Instead , she is thankful for the No Evidence of Disease diagnosis , and she clings to the hope and faith that the war with cancer is over .
In addition to Mahon
worrying about herself , she , along with her daughter and parents , also were worried about Maddy .
With Tiffany Mahon having the BRCA2 gene mutation , that meant there was a 50 % chance of Maddy having a gene mutation too , and if she did , Maddy would have to make some hard choices very early in life . Unfortunately for the Mahon and Dalzell families , Maddy could not get tested until she turned 18 . It has been a long five years , but Maddy was able to get tested this past August , and she found out in September she does not have the gene mutation .
Maddy , her mom and her grandparents felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off their shoulders when they heard the gene mutation test came back negative .
Maddy Mahon said , “ I was so happy that I cried , and that night I had the best restful sleep I ’ ve had in a few years . I wanted to go scream it from the hills because I was so overjoyed .”
Similarly , Tiffany Mahon said , “ I feel overjoyed . We ’ ve had to wait until she was 18 for her to be tested , and that has been the longest , hardest wait . But then to find out she doesn ’ t have the gene mutation — there ’ s no words . We cried . I cried . I felt relief . I felt as if I could breathe easier .”
Tiffany Mahon learned sometimes you have to be your own advocate , and she has come to find she has a passion to advocate for young women to pay attention to their bodies .
“ I wish more girls would pay attention to their bodies and listen to their bodies and become their own advocates . I wasn ’ t due to have a mammogram for two years , but I had a bump on my breast , and it turned out to be cancer . Nobody else knows your body better than you . If there ’ s a family history of cancer , go get yourself tested . Most insurance companies including the medical card will cover the cost if it ’ s through the right procedures ,” Tiffany Mahon said .
Some of the things Cindy Dalzell and other family members learned were the value of spending time with loved ones and the importance of celebrating each victory . Asking for help and accepting help are important too .
“ If there ’ s one thing that I ’ ve learned from all of this , it is that life is short so you have to make the best out of the cards you are dealt ,” Maddy Mahon said . “ My mom has always told me that each big event in your life is like a new chapter . Some will be good and some will be bad , but eventually , they all come to an end .”
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