Rachel & Brandon's Story

This is what cancer looks like — young, vibrant, seemingly healthy.

Rachel and her husband, Brandon, had reached a good place in their lives. Fulfilling careers, a nice home, financial stability. They were ready to start their family.

When Rachel walked into the fertility clinic she had no idea she was starting down an entirely different path. The fertility specialist saw a mass on Rachel’s ovary. He immediately sent her back to her gynecologist for more tests, who wanted to do exploratory surgery. However, the pandemic had put all “non-essential” surgeries on hold and things were at a standstill.

A month later, when Rachel’s doctor saw that the ovarian mass had grown from 4mm to 10mm, her surgery became more than essential – it was urgent. Then, the worst news – a PET scan “lit up like the fourth of July,” and that month was spent having three surgeries, including a total hysterectomy and mastectomy.

In an instant, Rachel and Brandon’s plans – and their lives – were changed forever. “We had so many questions – our biggest was where do we go from here?”

For Rachel’s husband Brandon, the pandemic meant separation at the most critical time of their lives together. “As she’s going through it all, I couldn’t attend her doctor visits with her. I’d be sitting in the car, listening in on speaker phone, trying to understand the doctors using very big words. I couldn’t even be there for her surgeries.”

As Rachel began to recover, her age and vitality helped her regain her physical strength quickly. Where she and Brandon struggled most was their emotional recovery.

“We were grieving our loss to have biological children. I was also adjusting to the loss of my appearance as I knew it. I found an online support group, and one of the people I met there told me about A Time to Heal.

It was the first time my husband could participate with me as a couple. We really needed this! Totally filled a gap for us. There were other couples too. Cancer is a lonely place – made even lonelier due to the pandemic. A Time to Heal showed us – wow – we’re not alone!”

Learn more about our classes here or to help other survivors, please click here.