Mom thrives through stage 4 cancer

By Dana Griffin

dgriffin@abc6.com

@DanaRGriffin

WOONSOCKET, RI- Zip lining, Disney World and Niagara Falls are a few things on Tammy Roy’s bucket list. With her bubbly personality and big smile, many wouldn’t guess that she is the face of stage 4 breast cancer.

“I never really felt sick. I never thought it would come back,” said Roy.

She’s been diagnosed twice in nine years. The first time she did chemo and had a mastectomy.

“So, I found out December 4th of 2013 that I had stage 4, that it had metastasized in my liver.”

She’s developed neuropathy and lives in pain 24/7. But, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she’s making as many memories as possible with her 4-year-old daughter Mia and husband, Noel.

“She’s my hero, definitely my hero,” said Noel Roy.

“1 in 6 Rhode Island women are likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has worked with thousands of women. Community Outreach Coordinator, Maureen DiPiero says Tammy’s outlook on life is rare.

“Many women are in denial. There are women who are angry and then there are women who are just absolutely frightened,” said DiPiero.

DiPiero adds, “She embodies hope. She just is incredible.”

Conquering her fear of heights, Tammy climbed a tree for the first time during our interview; one more task crossed off her bucket list.

“Knowing that at any day I could become sick enough where I might not make it– so I just enjoy life,” said Roy.

Her next major goal is to see Mia go to kindergarten next year.

“I just keep fighting because there’s things I need to do; too early to go,” said Roy.

In the meanwhile, Tammy is cat scanned every three months and right now, is in a good place.

She works full time as a special education teacher and hopes her story will inspire other women to thrive through stage 4.

“I think you just need to think positive and know that you can fight it and there [are] so many things that keep me going that I kind of tell the cancer: I don’t have time for you; I have too many things to do,” said Roy.

The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation provides extra support to Tammy and other families like hers through the Gloria’s Angels program, which provides meals and services every month to patients undergoing treatment.

Gloria Gemma Foundation: http://gloriagemma.org/

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