Getting breast cancer is devastating to any woman. So, imagine getting it twice.

Mary, a teacher, wife and mom of three, was religious about regular checkups and mammograms after beating breast cancer 20 years ago. When she was diagnosed with the disease again, she felt hopeless.

After undergoing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, Mary said she accepted she would never be the same. She felt like she would be deformed for the rest of her life. She remembers thinking, “that was the price I had to pay to be alive.”

But then, in Mary’s words, came “divine intervention.” She dubbed Health First Medical Group’s Dr. George Collis, a plastic surgeon, and his nurse, Janet, “the most compassionate, caring and kind professionals.”

They didn’t just tell her she was going to be okay; they showed her how she was going to be okay. The care Mary received not only gave her a new look, but a new outlook on life. She started thinking she could come out of this feeling and looking better than before. Soon, her attitude began to shift.

“They say that from the depths of despair can come true blessings. That is a cliché, but clichés are just that for a reason. They’re true.”

Now, Mary says her diagnosis, struggles and recovery have made her life richer. “If I could go back and change what happened, I wouldn’t, because I’ve gained so much insight, more empathy,” Mary insists. “I feel so much better than I did when this first happened, that I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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