The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

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South breast cancer survivors live to tell their tales

In April of 2006, at the age of 35, Rosie McManamon, Business Education teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to McManamon, it was hard for her to believe that she had breast cancer at first.

“I didn’t think it was really happening to me,” McManamon said. “But then I wanted to do what it took to make myself healthy again and get rid of this cancer.”

After going through surgeries, McManamon underwent four months of chemotherapy. According to McManamon, the treatments were exhausting. She said she had lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.

“I wore a do-rag to school once the hair started to go,” McManamon said. “My students didn’t necessarily know what was going on. If a student asked, I told them the truth. Some teachers even had no clue and asked, ‘What’s up with the do-rag?’ When I told them, they were shocked.”

Despite the hardships that came with breast cancer, McManamon strived to keep daily routines.

“I didn’t miss any school due to chemo treatments,” McManamon said. “[I] wanted things to seem normal, but I had no energy and slept a lot at home. [I] used all of my energy at work.”

According to McManamon, having her family members be so concerned for her was unbelievable.

“[My nieces and nephews] would cry and want to talk with me on the phone,” McManamon said. “Amanda wrote stories about the family cancer experience for her English papers. Trevor wore pink football gloves during his football games last year, and this year he wore a pink t-shirt with my name on it under his football jersey and pink socks for every game.”

According to McManamon, the outpouring of love she experienced made her more appreciative. She emphasized the importance of lending a helping hand.

“Reaching out to sick friends and family who need you does wonders,” McManamon said. “Be there when you can, it makes us feel like we’re not alone.”

Similar to McManamon, choral director Stevi Marks will have been cancer-free for seven years as of this December. She was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer in Jan. 2006 at age 51.

According to Marks, accepting the diagnosis and fighting cancer was difficult.

”I really didn’t believe it at all,” Marks said. “Physically, there were a couple weird things with me that weren’t right. There should’ve been a red flag, but why would I ever think that was [cancer]?”

Despite stress and hardship, Marks decided to focus on recovering.

“I had two days of not knowing what to do with myself, and then I got up and said, ‘Okay, I can lay here in a cocoon or I can do something about this,’” Marks said. “I […] said, ‘I am going to take control of this. I will decide who I see, what I use, how I handle this,’ and that was an important moment for me.”

According to Marks, she was being scanned every two to three months. At the six-month mark, the doctors found that her tumors spread to her arms, spine, liver and lungs.

”They gave me a different drug and this drug completely worked for me,” Marks said. “My tumors stopped growing […] to the point now where there is nothing in my liver or lung at all. It’s gone.”

Last July, Marks heard from her doctor that she will be cancer-free the rest of her life.

“Out of adversity often comes joy,” Marks said. “I’ve been very, very blessed, my life has changed radically and for the better.”

Marks emphasized that awareness is key.

“At first I had to be reactive, and that really terrified me,” Marks said. “[Be] proactive, not reactive.”

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