Chris jokes that she’s an unpaid Uber driver.

Chris Petro’s day job is as a pharmacist at Giant Eagle in Massillon, but the rest of her time is spent driving around her children, one of whom is a figure skater and the other a golfer.

In March of 2012, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy at Mercy Medical Center.

Today, she is a breast cancer survivor moving forward with life with strength and positivity.

“Overall, I can’t say I had a bad experience with cancer,” said Petro, who found solace in writing a blog about her experiences.

LIFE

Life is busy at the Petro household. Plain Township residents, Petro and her husband Jeff are parents of two daughters.

Lauren, 13, competes in golf tournaments around Northeast Ohio while Alex, 12, studies figure skating in Cleveland.

Between working and transporting the girls around, Petro, 43, said, “I’m never home. And when I am, I like to just chill.”

DIAGNOSIS

At age 39, Petro began experiencing sporadic pain in her right breast after carrying cases of Girl Scout cookies for her daughter’s troop.

“Something didn’t feel right,” she said.

When a mammogram found nothing, the doctor ordered a biopsy followed by an MRI. During the latter, her breast “lit up like a Christmas tree,” she said, with four cancerous spots and three types of cancer detected. A mastectomy was needed.

“That was the lowest point,” she recalled. “The only time I cried.”

Learning that there was a 40 to 60 percent chance of cancer recurring, she elected to also have her left breast removed.

TREATMENT

Treatment for Petro has been ongoing, including multiple reconstruction surgeries. The double mastectomy was performed in April 2012, about a month after she was diagnosed with cancer. Eighteen months of chemo followed during which Petro lost her hair.

She has had a series of reconstructive surgeries, the last one this June.

“I’ve had about a surgery a year,” she said.

EXPERIENCE AT MERCY

Petro had nothing but positives to offer about Mercy Medical Center.

“Every time I had to go in for surgery, mammogram, ultrasound, everyone was so nice, so helpful, so accommodating,” she said. “I like the doctors I’ve had. I have a favorite nurse who does my IV. I don’t ever feel like I’m being rushed. They all take their time.”

CLOSING THOUGHTS
Petro’s secret to survival was not to let cancer break her spirit.

“When you first get diagnosed, don’t think too much about it or it will consume and overwhelm you. Try to just think about the next step in the process,” Petro said.

“I stayed working full-time, and it kept my mind occupied, kept me socializing. Some people shut themselves away and fill themselves with self-pity and sadness. I did not sit around and wallow in it. I couldn’t. I had kids in second and third grade. You’ve got to keep going.”

About The Author

Dan Kane
Contributor

Dan Kane is the entertainment editor for The Repository’s Ticket magazine, for which he writes about theater, movies, rock ‘n’ roll, art, classical music, dance, restaurants, festivals and everything else that’s going on. Growing up in Wooster, he always thought of Canton as “the big city.”

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