Rebecca Vincelette – Breast Cancer Treatment Fund
In 2011, at the age of 33, I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. I had a double mastectomy followed by four months of aggressive chemotherapy. My treatment continued with six weeks of daily radiation. For 5.5 years I continued active treatment with a daily pill of hormone treatment. This last summer I started suffering from back pain. I was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer in October 2017 at the age of 40. The original cancer has spread to my spine.
Prior to my initial diagnosis, I was registered in a graduate program to obtain the final courses I need in order to get licensed as a Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maine. I was already licensed in Illinois. My goal of fulfilling these requirements were put on hold for five years as I recovered from cancer treatment and attempted to care for my family. Once my children were in elementary school, I started working part-time at a local preschool in an effort to have a small income and to contribute to our family. My husband is a middle school teacher and runs a small construction to supplement my income.
Since my new diagnosis, I have taken a medical leave from my internship and graduate work. I decreased my hours at the preschool to accommodate my lower energy levels due to radiation therapy and a new drug regime. I plan on returning to my internship and resuming graduate courses this summer. I plan on continuing at the cancer center in a role of developing programming and leading psycho-educational groups.
I have spent the last three years forming and leading a support group for young women with breast cancer. I have collaborated with the leading national organization and with smaller local ones. I am eager to continue my work in this area and get my counseling license so that I can work in this field. But my current energy level only allows me to work part-time (8 hours a week) and for now I have chosen the job that takes a little financial pressure off my husband. It is not much but it means that he can tend to our children rather than do extra side-jobs. I would greatly benefit from being able to focus on my studies and internship rather teach at the preschool level. The constant bending down, kneeling, standing back up and work with young children is not idea for my lower back (location of new cancer). It is very painful and I often leave with my tank completely empty. On the other hand when I get the chance to work with cancer patients at the Cancer Community Center my tank is filled. This is the work that I was intended to do … minister and listen to others who are struggling and who are battling just as I have done and will continue to do.
I do need a break. I need to work in the field of my calling and yet I need to also try to care for my two young children and for my husband of 20 years.
Any help is appreciated, God bless,
With much love,
Rebecca A. Vincelette