Woman remains positive despite devastating diagnosis

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SALTLAKECITY — This year's chairwoman for the Komen Race for the Cure has tried to maintain a positive attitude in the face of a devastating diagnosis. "Life doesn't stop just because I have cancer," said Mandi Hudson.

Charlie Chaplin once said, "A day without laughter is a day wasted," and Hudson says she doesn't have time to waste. At age 35, she is the director of online marketing at Western Governors University, an accomplished blogger, and a wife. She puts on a brave face while fighting stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

"On average, there is a two to three year life span. Women who die of breast cancer die of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. It will kill me," she said.

Nearly five years ago her life turned upside down.

"I was showering one day and felt a lump," she explained.

The night before her 31st birthday she learned that lump was grade 2 infiltrating ductal carcinoma.

"It doesn't run in my family. This isn't something anyone would have ever expected to hear about, a 30-year-old, 31 the next day, that had breast cancer," she said.

After surgery, treatment, and recovery, she was hopeful that she was cancer free. But then in October, she received more devastating news.

We had dinner plans that night and we said, 'Should we cancel them and just stay home and mope?' And we said, 'No. Life doesn't stop just because I have cancer.

–Mandi Hudson, chair, Komen Race for the Cure

"It basically spread throughout my whole body like wildfire in a three-month period," she explained.

With the help of her husband, Mike, Mandi blogs about her cancer experience on her website "Darn Good Lemonade." She has thousands of followers.

"When I'm writing about it, I'm consciously thinking about what was funny about this day, what was enjoyable, what was bright. I try to look at it through that perspective," she said.

That positive attitude is one reason she was chosen as this year's chairwoman for Komen's Race for the Cure. Through Komen, she hopes to deliver a message.

"We need to fund the research so women don't get matastatic. They (researchers) need to find the mechanism that stops that," she said.

Knowing life will be cut short, Mandi has created "the list" — things she would like to do before saying goodbye.

Photo: KSL-TV
Photo: KSL-TV

She wants her RV to hit 30,000 miles. She also wants to visit Rome.

"I have to kiss him by a fountain in Rome, drink coffee in Rome. That's my big one," she said.

With the support of family and friends, Mandi says she will continue to fight, taking life's lemons and making darn good lemonade.

"I don't know how she does it. She's super strong," Mike said.

The Komen Race For the Cure is scheduled for May 9. For more information, go to komenutah.org


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