The first time we talked to Shelby Martin, she was 29 years old. She had stage 4 triple negative breast cancer and it was spreading. She had two daughters, under the age of 10, who needed her so giving up was not an option.
“Whenever I see my babies smile or they laugh, God, that is why I am still here,” Shelby said.
Shelby's cancer journey started when she was 27. She found a lump in her right breast that kept growing. She waited to get it checked out because she didn't have insurance. By the time she went to the doctor, and the biopsy results came back, she was stage 3.
“She was give or take six months pregnant when I first met her and had been diagnosed with a relatively locally advanced triple-negative breast cancer which means she did not have the eligibility for non-chemotherapy treatments like hormone therapy and receptor-targeted therapy,” Oncologist and Hematologist Dr. Kyle Brett said
“I was going to have my last baby the way I wanted. Everything was going to be great, and nothing happened the way I planned but she is here, and she is healthy, so I guess it did happen the way I wanted,” Shelby said.
Shelby had her kids to keep her strong. Unfortunately, the cancer was growing.
“We found the new nodules that showed she had developed metastatic disease, which is at that point incurable, something we can treat for a period of time but something that we no longer cure,” Brett said.
“Everything I do is for her, and her sister and I will try everything possible. I will fight, until there is nothing left, for them because they deserve that,” Shelby said.
The next time we checked in with Shelby, her cancer had spread again, but giving up was not an option. This time though, she was hoping her story might prevent this from happening to someone else.
“If I could just make it all go away I would. If I could stop another mom from going through this or another young woman, I would take that too,” Shelby said.
“We are supposed to be objective. We are supposed to be scientific about our care that we provide to her, but she is a human being, in front of us. She is our friend. We love her,” Brett said.
Despite her strength and determination, Shelby lost her fight with cancer on May 13 at just 29 years old.
We still wanted to share her message to hopefully help other mothers and other women. Giving up on her story was not an option.
“If I have just a little bit of time left, I would rather really enjoy it. You know, cherish every moment,” Shelby said. “I am a lot stronger than I realized.”
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