Mother's Day is just days away, and a mother and daughter’s bond is stronger now than ever after a nearly two-year fight against breast cancer.
"When something scary happens like that, you're kind of put back in the place of a little girl seeking that mother's comfort,” said Danielle Spann, a mother of four.
“Looking back at it all, I still can’t believe what I went through.”
Spann was just 36-years-old when a lump changed her life.
"We had been monitoring a lump that everyone thought was just nothing,” said Spann. “I really had to push my doctor when I called to let them know I had blood coming out. He prescribed me an antibiotic, told me I had mastitis.”
She trusted her gut and went to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa instead, where experts confirmed her worst fear.
“I had a double mastectomy. They said since I was younger, they wanted to aggressively treat it,” said Spann.
Despite seven hours of distance, her mom drove to Tulsa from Illinois to be by her side through it all, including chemo, radiation, and drug-targeted infusions.
"It's seven hours of putting worship music on and looking at the clouds and finding a lot of healing as you go back and forth, sometimes with her children and sometimes just me,” said Lisa Heineman, Spann’s mother.
Heineman says she has a new respect in how strong her daughter was, enduring the pain.
"As a mom, you want to just take the load away and take the pain away,” said Heineman.
They grew stronger together through the suffering, something a CTCA Therapist says is the bright spot in such a dark time.
"A lot of people get this new perspective of wow, every day is precious. Every day is really something beautiful, something to cherish and be appreciative,” said Lacy Richards, Mind-Body Medicine Therapist.
“And it’s a role-reversal for this family. Typically we see more of the daughter caring for her mother here.”
Richards said many patients don’t have family, but CTCA therapists are their support system.
“It’s critical to have a support system,” said Richards. “It goes beyond physical needs, like making meals or getting to and from a chair, or transportation to a doctor’s appointment. It’s also the emotional needs that cancer patients are dealing with after a diagnosis.”
Spann said she conquered emotions like fear through faith, and through her family’s love. She finished 16 rounds of chemo, months of radiation, and a year of infusions, and can now celebrate Mother’s Day cancer-free.
“I hope to one day be the same kind of mom to my kids as she as shown me,” said Spann.