Moffitt Team Member
Breast Cancer Survivor
Sister & Moffitt Team Member
Marsha and Carol are sisters who share more than just the family connection. Each has been touched by cancer.
Carol works at Moffitt Cancer Center, formerly as a part of the breast cancer team for many years. But her experience with cancer became even more personal when her younger sister Marsha was diagnosed with—coincidentally enough—breast cancer.
The first time Marsha was diagnosed, it was an early stage cancer and she wasn’t sure what to do. She found so much of the support and guidance she needed in Carol. “I knew which practitioners were a good fit for her...I got to pick which ones I wanted and tell her who to go to,” Carol says.
Fast-forward more than five years after her first diagnosis. What Marsha thought was allergies turned out to be metastatic breast cancer, spreading quickly to other areas—lung, bones, etc. “I was in shock and numb after being at an early stage of cancer prior,” explains Marsha.
Carol knew what to do and had the nurse practitioner engaged right away. She even went to Marsha’s appointments with her, listening, taking notes, helping her process all the information, and asking the right questions when Marsha was feeling overwhelmed.
Despite her diagnosis, she states she was never scared, thanks to Moffitt’s approach. “They are always real passionate and positive and upbeat,” Marsha says. She gives a special thank you to her nurse practitioner, Laurie, and nurse, Vicki, for being there through all of it.
Marsha knows surviving cancer was a team effort—between Moffitt’s continued focus on new treatments, her sister Carol, as well as faith, family and friends. “Having the support around me just gave me more courage,” she says.
Interestingly, Marsha later joined her sister at Moffitt as a team member, where she’s now helping community physicians refer their patients to Moffitt. “I always wanted to work somewhere that I knew made a difference,” she says.
Marsha’s cancer is currently being treated as a chronic illness. While she has ongoing challenges, she feels it’s important to stay courageous, find advocates to be there with you, and not let cancer be the focus. In fact, she has an exciting new focus: After being single all her life, she is now blessed to be getting married.