When Mary Devlin, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010, she suddenly found herself in a whirlwind of numbers and emotions. She had four heavy chemotherapy treatments to start, followed by 12 more after her surgery.
Mary has lived in Dudley, Mass., since she was 5 years old and had only visited Harrington when she was young and her mom would bring her when she got hurt.
Due to the aggressive nature of her cancer, she was sent to The Cancer Center at Harrington and Harrington Hospital to perform biopsies, chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and more chemotherapy.
“No matter where I went, the hospital or The Cancer Center, they were all truly amazing,” says Devlin. “I can’t say enough about either place, but I hold The Cancer Center deep in my heart for their kindness. When I go for my visits now, they still remember me and always say hi. It takes a special person to do what they all do.”
Devlin attributes her great experience to the expertise of the doctors and nurses who treated her. She had the tumor in her right breast biopsied first and then went back for the other one on her left breast. She remembers a Harrington Cancer Center volunteer coming in to check on her and giving her hand massages during treatments. She applauds Dr. Christopher Seidler for the way he handled her chemotherapy treatments, Dr. Harry Easterly for his work as the surgeon and Dr. Arturo Aguillon, who performed her reconstructive surgery in 2012 once she was in remission.
“I felt insecure for a very long time with losing my breasts and my hair,” remembers Devlin. “I’m all back to ‘normal’ again, but it was a rough road as I know it is for many others. I still have insecurities that I deal with from it, but in the end, I always look at the bright side that I’m still here.”
Mary Devlin works as an Administrative Assistant for the Board of Selectmen for the Town of Charlton. She has participated in three breast cancer awareness walks since her battle and still keeps in touch with RN Rose Benvenuti, who treated her in the Cancer Center.
“I remember Mary’s treatments well and mostly what amazed me was the support she had from her daughters. They came to all her treatments with her,” recalls Benvenuti, who still works at Harrington. “I also remember that Mary and her family took part in the breast cancer walk that Harrington used to hold in October. They came as a team and really got into the spirit, going all out in the pink! I enjoy seeing her when she comes in for follow-ups. It is great to catch up with her and to see how well she is doing.”
This October will mark her fourth year in remission.
“Having breast cancer is really scary. I guess any cancer is,” says Devlin. “I watched my mom and dad go through it and now I know what they had to endure, although I think I had it so much easier than they did because of the way the treatments are done now. My children, family, and friends, both inside and outside of the Harrington walls, are my angels and they saw me through it.”