Margo Jackson isn’t going to let anyone go through this alone.
Jackson, 60, remembers sitting in the waiting room at Aultman Hospital, waiting for her turn to start chemotherapy, and overhearing heartbreaking conversations from other patients.
“It was horrible,” she said.
When she heard that some patients didn’t have anyone to lean on, she’d give them her number.
“You can call me. You don’t even have to tell me your name, just the say ‘the lady in the waiting room,’ and we’ll talk,” she said.
“I can’t imagine having to go through this alone,” she said.
Jackson, of Canton, had a strong team behind her from the minute she was diagnosed.
Her husband, Kevin, and children, Kevin II and Alita, stood by her side, helping out in any way they could.
Jackson was diagnosed following a routine mammogram in the spring of 2013. The process took about six weeks. Then she had to choose between a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.
“I did what I always do. I prayed,” she said.
She chose a mastectomy. And chose to follow that with six weeks of chemotherapy.
She’s been cancer free ever since.
“The nursing staff are awesome,” she said, also praising Dr. Shruti Trehan. They remember her when she goes in for annual follow-ups and always make sure she’s just there for a checkup, Jackson said.
Jackson owns a State Farm Insurance Agency in Canton. And she kept working throughout treatment.
“There’s nothing wrong with my fingers. There’s nothing wrong with my mind. So I will go and work,” she said.
Her friends, clients and church family also pitched in to offer support, bringing soups and casseroles to her home every weekend.
Many of those people now join Jackson’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Team, the Warriors for the Cure. The first year, her team topped 40 people and was the largest at the American Cancer Society fundraiser. She also hosts an annual event to support the cause.
Cancer is “the beginning of a new season of life,” she said.
“Because this is the beginning. You’re never going to be the same from that moment on. But you’ve got to keep moving,” she said.
“So whoever the new you is, embrace it. Love it. No matter what it is. With hair or without hair. With breasts or without breasts. Just embrace your new you. Because you’re still here.”