Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 --- 10:55pm
Samantha Mergen and her husband, Elliott, got married just about a year ago. They expected to face challenges any newlyweds go through, but for the couple, cancer was a curveball.
At the end of September 2013, Samantha felt a lump in her left breast. She didn't think much of it, but decided to get it checked out, just in case.
"I didn't think it would be breast cancer, it was pretty shocking” says Samantha.
The next few weeks, for the couple, were just as shocking. Samantha did something she'd thought she'd never have to do at the age of 27....undergo a mastectomy.
"I was just kind of in disbelief” says Elliott.
The good news was that doctors were able to remove the tumor from her breast. The bad news was that the cancer had spread to lymph nodes in Samantha's underarm.
"Which is news no one wants to get” says Samantha.
So, the next step is chemotherapy. Samantha has already gotten a few wigs, one short blonde one and one playful, pink one. She plans to shave her head, instead of waiting for her hair to fall out.
“I'm just gonna go with it...bald, beautiful and proud” says Samantha with a smile.
Chemo will likely get rid of the cancer, but it comes with a price. There's a 30-percent chance the treatments could leave Samantha infertile. So, as a precaution, Samantha got her eggs harvested, so the couple could possibly have kids in the future. But, in vitro fertilization is costly and is not covered by insurance. The price tag is between $11,000-15, 000. It's overwhelming, but the couple has one great support system. Friends, family, even strangers stepped in to help.
"Originally we just hoped to get a small portion of what we needed. We ended up raising around $16,000.
Samantha will start chemotherapy in two weeks, following treatments with radiation. Yes, it is a curveball Samantha and Elliott never thought they'd be thrown, but one they've caught and thrown right back with a positive spin.
"The silver lining for me is just being alive” says Samantha. “The surprise silver lining is finding out that my story could reach other people and help them."
If you'd like to donate money to help Samantha and Elliott start a family and help with medical costs head to: