Two-time cancer survivor on facing disease for third time: 'I want to survive'

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin woman who survived two rounds of a rare form of breast cancer is now facing the disease one more time but is not letting the diagnosis deceive her into letting go of her faith.

Marie Hendry, 46, was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare form of breast cancer that is aggressive and deadly, in May of 2013. She said her breasts were so swollen with cancer they felt like 10-pound bricks.

“I looked down and I was like, ‘Lord,’ because it was just red. It hurt. It was swollen, and it was terrible pain,” Hendry said.

After going back and forth to the hospital, she was finally told the diagnosis.

“It was so black - they showed me the picture. The ultrasound couldn’t penetrate through it, and they told me it was a 3-by-5 cancerous mass,” Hendry said.

The diagnosis was shocking, Hendry said, especially since she had been getting yearly mammograms and had been doing at-home breast exams. However, she found out that with inflammatory breast cancer it cannot be diagnosed through a mammogram, and it is barely recognizable through an ultrasound, she said.

After four days of waiting, Hendry found out the mass had grown by 3-by-5 to 9-by-7, and 40 out of 41 lymph nodes in her right arm, were infected with cancer. She had to immediately begin chemotherapy treatment, she said.

“I just broke down. I broke down and cried. When you get a cancerous diagnosis, your mind’s just smokin’. Your wheels are turning, and you just - everything in my mind was just, ‘How is my husband going to be? The one I married 30 years ago,’” Hendry said.

On August 23, 2013, Hendry had surgery, and both of her breasts were removed. Then, several months later, she was diagnosed with the breast cancer for the second time. She had her second surgery on November 1, 2013.

“With this cancer, you don’t get to go through [stage] 1 or 2. It’s just there. I was blessed enough to be in stage 3 that I had a fighting chance to fight the cancer,” Hendry said.

Her faith prevailed, she said, and she beat the cancer a second time. Until last week, when she was diagnosed with the cancer for a third time. Despite the devastating news, Hendry said she will survive.

“I’ve had it twice, and now it’s back for a third time, and all’s I can do is trust God,” Hendry said. “I want to live life, and I want to survive.”

If you have a survivors story you would like to share, or know of someone who has overcome a life challenge, email Michelle Reed at

. She is looking for people who have overcome bankruptcy, homelessness, drug addiction, and even domestic violence.

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