Marra’s battle began, like so many others, on an otherwise typical day. In her case, it was just before Easter 2017 when she says she suddenly felt a “knot” in her side at work. She told her colleagues about it; they encouraged her to get it checked out. She did, even though she and her husband, David, had both convinced themselves there was no chance it could be cancer.
“I went in to see the doctor, and I’ll never forget what I said–I said, ‘It just appeared overnight,’” she recalls. “And I remember her saying, ‘No, it didn’t.’”
That initial visit revealed a lump in her breast that needed further investigation. Marra was ultimately referred to Dr. Angela Mislowsky, a leading breast cancer surgeon at Tidelands Health Breast Center, our region’s only surgery practice dedicated to breast health. A biopsy was conducted and Marra told Dr. Mislowsky that, no matter the situation, she wanted to know the results the moment they came in.
That moment came, it turned out, on the very evening that Marra was set to get one of her two daughters ready for prom.
“I have twin daughters, and one of them was going to her friend’s prom,” she recalls. “I went to pick her up at school that day, and the deal was, I would do her hair, her sister would do her face. Well, I’m sitting out there in the car, and the phone rings, and it was Dr. Mislowsky. She said, ‘You said you wanted the call regardless of the news, and I need to tell you: You have cancer.’”
Marra, not wanting to ruin her daughter’s evening, played it coy on the phone, thanked Dr. Mislowsky and calmly hung up. She put on a brave face.
Given the situation, she knew it was all she could do.
“In my mind, I was thinking, ‘If I tell these girls right now, we’re not going to make it to prom,’” she says.
It was only later that evening that Marra ultimately broke the news for the first time, to the first person who needed to hear it–her husband. And from there, the journey began.