Stories of Hope

Trisha’s Journey as a Young Mom with Breast Cancer

Trisha’s Journey as a Young Mom with Breast Cancer

Some breast cancer patients compare their experience of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care to a rollercoaster ride. For Trisha, who was visiting a local theme park on her 36th birthday in 2022, it was more of a whirlwind spin. 

Trisha was riding the spinning teacups with her 8-year-old son, Ethan, when she got the call from her doctor: It was Stage 2B invasive ductal carcinoma with spread to the lymph nodes. Like the teacup ride she was on, Trisha’s head began spinning. “I could not believe what my doctor was telling me,” Trisha said.

Trisha’s husband, Mike, remembers the same dizzying moment from a different perspective as he was waiting in line for another ride with their 4-year-old daughter, Madison. Mike recalls: “I saw Trisha answer the phone on the teacups, so I knew it had to be something kind of serious. I automatically had a sinking feeling in my stomach. And then she finished the ride and walked over and then gave me the news. It was a bit of a shock.”

While Trisha and Mike were understandably devastated by the news of Trisha’s diagnosis, Trisha decided there on the teacups that she was going to fight. She shared, “But in that moment, I just knew, ‘All right, we’re going to get this. We’re going to fight this. We got this.’”

Watch Trisha and Mike tell their story in their own words here.

Finding hope in the negative

Because of the young ages of their kids, Trisha and Mike wanted to be very careful and deliberate in sharing the news—with a hopeful outlook—with their kids, letting them know that their mom’s breast cancer was treatable. “If I’m going to give a negative, I want to follow it up with a positive,” Trisha said. “We clearly lined out what was about to happen just so that they knew. We were very truthful that I’m going to get some treatments. It’s going to change the way mommy looks.”

After sharing the news, the family started a post-treatment celebration countdown. Once Trisha finished treatment, they decided they would reclaim the teacups—and their lives—with another visit to an amusement park! 

Trisha believes that setting a post-treatment goal—big or small—is important for those facing a diagnosis. She advises, “We’re all goal-oriented people. Find something to look forward to at the end of it, whether it’s a staycation or your favorite restaurant—big, small, whatever it is, you have to have that goal. I had a checklist going, and every treatment, every procedure I had, I put a big green checkmark right next to it, so the minute I checked that last box, that was our sign. It gave me extra motivation. It just gave everybody that oomph.”

Advice for moms with breast cancer, from a mom with breast cancer

Trisha and her family faced many difficult moments while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Through it all, Trisha tried to focus on the positive and take note of the things that helped and made life a little sweeter during that time. 

Trisha shares a few pieces of advice for moms going through breast cancer:

Join a support group

During her breast cancer journey, Trisha regularly attended support group meetings, where she shared her hopes and fears with others going through a similar situation. Trisha said the women in her support group are “the ones that know exactly what you’re going through. I love my best friends, but they can only give so much support. It’s the ones in the battle with you that are going to be your sisters for life.”

NBCF offers virtual and in-person support groups for breast cancer patients and survivors. Click here to learn more about NBCF support groups.

Seek out a dedicated patient navigator

During her treatment, Trisha’s patient navigator, Tina, provided Trisha a lifeline. Trisha says, “The most important thing was my patient navigator. She walked me through it. Every crazy question [I had] was not crazy to her. And I had a lot of them! She really just calmed my nerves and held my hand. I called her my guardian angel. She was there for everything.”

Through our partner facilities, NBCF provides patient navigation services to help women navigate the complex cancer care system. Click here to search for a partner facility in your area.

Help others when and where you can

During her darkest days, Trisha discovered that helping others truly filled her cup. While supporting a new friend through her first chemo treatment, Trisha “realized that God put me on this planet to serve people.” To celebrate her own cancer milestones, Trisha gathered groups together to pack HOPE Kits for other women in need.

Find your village

While Trisha didn’t want her kids to miss out on anything, her “tribe” of friends, family, and Bible study members came through for the entire family, sometimes taking the kids “to the movies or ice skating or roller skating or ice cream” so that Trisha could rest and the kids could enjoy themselves. Trisha says, “That meant more to me than anybody will ever know. It was just those small acts of kindness that will stick with me forever.”

Be present rather than perfect

As a mother, Trisha has become more present with her family since her breast cancer diagnosis. “I got so wrapped up in making sure we had the perfect clothes and everybody was signed up for all the sports and all the things and rushing. I was always rushing to make sure I had this and this and this. And then I realized, Why? What I really strived to change about me is being present, being with everybody in the moment, living each moment like it’s our last because tomorrow isn’t promised and all we have is today. I want to look back on our lives at all the fun things we’ve done together. And for me, that’s the most important thing, and, crazy as that is, it took breast cancer to wake me up and realize that.”

Reclaiming the spins in life

After ten months of treatment, including breast surgery, eight rounds of chemo, radiation, and a hysterectomy, the family realized their goal of reclaiming the spinning teacups. As they approached the ride, they spotted an amusement park photographer stationed nearby to capture the moment.

Trisha recalls, “We walked up to the teacups and there was one of those Disney photographers just sitting there. And so it was a perfect moment. And I was like, ‘This is one of the God shots.’ And so we were able to capture that moment, but it was more of a victory. Some people take victory laps. I take victory spins, apparently. So it was just the, ‘We did it. We made it. We’ve come full circle.’ And it hadn’t even been a year. I was able to undergo a double mastectomy. Eight rounds of chemo, radiation, and a hysterectomy. And be able to get on those teacups just ten months later. It just showed me just a little bit of determination, positive attitude. And it helped having what you’re fighting for. And what I was fighting for in that moment are making memories with these little precious ones.”

National Breast Cancer Foundation is here for you and your family as you navigate a breast cancer diagnosis. Visit our website to learn about NBCF breast cancer support groups, obtain free educational resources, or find a patient navigator in your area.

Publish Date: May 2, 2024


  1. I just read Trisha’s Journey and feel very inspired by her outlook and how she approached everything. I was diagnosed with the same as Trisha in September of ‘23. I did five months of chemo. Recently had bi-lateral mastectomy and currently recovering and preparing for radiation. Coming across Trisha’s story is what I needed this very moment. I love the analogy with the tea cups and ultimately things coming full circle. This is a long road. I know I will be fine in the long run.

    Thank you for sharing Trisha. I am so happy that you are better now. You went through a lot! Again, your story just refueled me for my next steps in this process.

  2. Your tenacity and faith brought you this challenging journey!!! Praise HIM!!!! You’re inspiring to me and others. Congratulations Gigi. I am a two time Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor.

    God Bless

  3. You are a beautiful woman with a beautiful family, you are a surivor and living your best new normal. Never take anything for granted. Family is everything. God is good!
    I too am a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed with triple negative ductal carcinoma, had double masectemy in Feb 2023 and then 8 rounds of chemo. I’m extremely blessed at age 56 and living my best new normal!! Prayers and hugs your way!:)

  4. What a beautiful and wise woman! Gigi, thank you for sharing your story which inspires us all! We celebrate with you and are cheering you on!

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