COLUMBIA, S.C. — Once a reporter, always a reporter, and Mary Nguyen was one of the best in the Midlands.
When faced with a devastating health diagnosis, she did what came naturally and told us the story of how she was going to beat breast cancer. That was more than 4 years ago.
A lot has changed since then. At that time, Mary was crediting her pet dachshund with alerting her to the fact that something wasn’t right. She says she was sitting on her couch when her dog jumped into her lap and literally put her paw on the tumor. When she went to the doctor he knew immediately that there was something wrong.
Nguyen remembers, “It literally took my brain a second to go, carcinoma means cancer, positive for carcinoma means positive for cancer. I didn’t hear a word he said for another couple of minutes.”
It was stage 2 invasive ductal cancer. At that point, doctors believed it was curable. However, a year later doctors found a suspicious spot on Mary’s lung that made them believe the cancer spread. She was not prepared to hear the words, your cancer has spread.
She remained optimistic about the possibilities available through a trial study at Duke. She was one of 15 people selected, and the trial was very specific for her diagnosis.
“Instead of helping, the combo of drugs hurt me. For two months the cancer got into my chest and the rest of my organs. It did a lot of damage unfortunately.”
I’ve known for a while I’m terminal. I haven’t really told anybody. It was hard when we found out it hadn’t worked. It’s been 4 years. It’s been a very long four years. At this point, I’ve tried not to ask the question how long because I don’t necessarily want to know. I know that everything possible that can be done, is being done. It’s a weird gray area, where I’m fighting but I’ve made peace.
On July 3, 2019 Mary’s fight with cancer ended, but her story didn’t.
Her story lives on through all of the lives that were saved because she told her story.