Buddy Check 12: Breast Cancer Survivor Offers Advice

Buddy Check 12: Breast Cancer Survivor Offers Advice
By: Christy Hendricks
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The holiday season can be stressful for anyone, but if you've been diagnosed with cancer things can be a lot worse.
A local breast cancer survivor who offers some advice not only during the holidays but all year. 
Mary Jo Thompson, a retired teacher stays busy helping her friend at her downtown Cape Girardeau store.  But nearly eight years ago, she learned she needed some help herself after going through a double blow to her health.
"Before I was diagnosed I had scoliosis and had my spine straightened in 2001 so I was in a plastic brace and then just one night, just kinda rolled over and found that there was a lump," Mary Jo said.
The diagnosis...breast cancer.  Mary Jo had a masectomy, reconstruction and four chemo treatments.
"It was the word that no one wants to say and you know I didn't even want to admit it really," she said. 
But one thing she did admit was that she needed support.  She found it in her students, family, and a fellow teacher who coincidentally was diagnosed with breast cancer the same day she was.
"You just need someone to lean on every now and then, someone to cry to, someone to know what you're going through and the support you know you can laugh with them and they can build you up but still you know it's there," Mary Jo said. 
She says wrapping herself in that support is what got her through her breast cancer battle and urges those fighting the same battle to remember this.
"Just have a positive attitude.  Believe in God.  Talk to your friends.  Let them help you through it.  Family is so very, very important at this time.  And just know that your going to make it."