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Simon says cancer has taught her about faith and beauty PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor   
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 09:42
PERRYSBURG - Ellie Simon has been cancer-free for nearly six years, and lives life better now than before her diagnoses.
The 60-year-old Perrysburg woman learned in December 2007 she had breast cancer.
She said she knew her chance of getting cancer was good, since her mom was diagnosed in 1963 and her aunt in 1990.
"I always figured it was never if I was going to get breast cancer, it was when was I going to get it," Simon said.
All three women had their right breast removed.
"My mother was pretty much butchered," Simon recalled. But her mom, Rosemarie McKaig, lived another 14 years before the cancer came back and went into her bones.
Her aunt, Joan Curran, is 91 years old and lives in Toledo.
Simon vividly recalls what she thought when she heard the diagnoses.
"It was denial. It was whiney. What did I ever do to deserve this?"
She had always treated everyone fairly, and asked "why me?"
"Then you go through this time - it shouldn't be happening.
"Then you start fighting God."
Simon remembers getting to the point where she was cursing God and fighting Him.
Then, she thought, she needed to just put it in His hands.
"I just got to put it into God's hands. There's a reason for it," she recalled.
"All of a sudden, I thought I could beat this. I knew He was with me every step of the way."
Now, she enjoys life more and doesn't let the little things bother her.
This month, she and her husband Terry, are visiting friends in the Black Hills in South Dakota before heading to Utah with plans to hike in Arches National Park. Those plans have changed, though, with the shutdown of all national parks. The couple now will travel to Castle Valley, just south of the park. She said the area is where John Wayne filmed scenes for "The Comancheros."
Her husband has been her rock, Simon said.
"Some women, it bothers them losing their breast," she said, but not her.
Simon when through four chemotherapy treatments from April to June in 2008 at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.
"One treatment is way too many," she recalled.
She called everyone else there for treatment beautiful.
"I saw some of the most beautiful women and handsome men while sitting in the chemo room," she said.
Too many times, people are judged on looks and beauty.
But in that room "it doesn't matter if you're bald or losing your dignity, everybody is cheering everyone on."
She said she still has some side affects from the treatment.
"The one thing that I still experience ... I still suffer what they call chemo brain. The words are right there but I can't get them out the way I want to."
She said she also has a hard time comprehending big words.
She took chemo pills for five years, and just finished in July.
"My oncologist June of this year signed off on me."
Tissue samples were sent to a California lab to determine the chance of the cancer coming back.
She said she has "well under the 10-percent range of it reoccurring within 10 years.”
She said she can’t live her life worrying about it.
Simon admits her diagnoses has changed how she lives her life.
“I live my life better. I found out material things are nothing. If my house blew away, I could care less. What I care about are the people in my life.
“I don’t ask myself anymore why. I know, God, why you did it. I can handle it.”
She has her own advice to other women with breast cancer.
“Stay positive. Always keep a positive thought and never lose your faith. The more positive you are, the more you’re going to beat it.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 10:22

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