The 34-year-old Maryland mother of five, who was too afraid to go to the doctor, learned she only had five weeks to live after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
- Courtney Smith, 34, was diagnosed with stage 4 invasive lobular carcinoma in April
- Four weeks ago, she was told the disease had spread to her brain, giving her months to live
- This has pushed her to focus on making memories with her family with the time she has
A mother of five from Maryland learned she only had five weeks to live after a heartbreaking cancer diagnosis.
Courtney Smith, 34, of St. Mary’s County, was diagnosed with stage 4 invasive lobular carcinoma in April.
But just four weeks ago, she was told she only had a place to live for two months.
She said it took her a long time to consult a doctor because of fear. During her last visit, doctors told her that the cancer had spread to her brain.
The news prompted Smith to focus on making memories with her family in the time she has left.
Speaking to WUSA9, she said she hopes her story serves as a warning to others who may be too afraid to go to the doctor.
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“I now feel like I can save someone’s life,” she told the station from a nursing home on Saturday about how she may have missed treatment after avoiding a visit when she noticed a lump in her breast.
“Here I was, 34 years old, dying because I was afraid to go to the doctor.”
Smith’s battle with cancer began in 2021, when she was diagnosed with stage 3 of the disease, which is treatable if caught early.
She said she first became suspicious a lot earlier, after that Notice the dimple on her chest. But fear prevented her from examining it.
Sometime after that, she was unable to produce milk for her newborn baby, raising further concerns.
She told WUSA those concerns prompted her to finally see a doctor — and there she learned she had cancer that starts in the milk-producing gland in the breast.
She said at first she was in disbelief.
“I ask them questions like, ‘Could this be, the stuff I read about online?’” she told the outlet, sitting next to her husband Andre as tubes stretched out on either side of her.
They said: No, it’s cancer.
By April, it had progressed to stage 4, which has an average five-year survival rate of about 6%.
Still optimistic, she underwent multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to eradicate the disease, but three months ago, she received the news that everything was in vain.
She has since been transferred to a nursing home, where she and her husband expressed regret on Friday about the reality of their situation.
“Our two-year-old son (the youngest), always makes us smile,” said Andre, with his wife crying beside him.
“So, it’s really the kids that keep us awake like that.”
As for Smith, she has spent the past several weeks in hospice, where she said doctors are keeping her comfortable with pain medication.
She will leave behind her husband and five children, ages 16, 14, 12, 9 and 2, but hopes to make new memories in the meantime.
“I want them to know that I love them and love them very much,” she told the station.
He added: “I will take any measures, any drastic measures to make sure she is okay.” Even after the grave.
She also admitted that her body could no longer handle the chemotherapy, meaning her fate was definitely sealed.
She reflected on a GoFundMe she started to help with funeral expenses earlier this month that has so far raised $72,710, money that will now be passed down to her family after a local funeral director said it would cover the cost.
Meanwhile, Smith wrote: “With the unfortunate fact that I will not live long on this earth. Every day is a struggle mentally and physically.
“I have young, sensitive, creative, intelligent children and I want to support them in this world. My dream would be to hold their hands and guide them into adulthood, but that dream is fading.
She also revealed: “The cancer has spread to my bones and brain, causing limited activity with my children.”
“As I am nearing the end of the road, my goal is to provide financial assistance to my husband for my funeral expenses as he will be a single father.
“I invite you to show your love and support.”
The mother said she is also working on a children’s book as a keepsake for her five children. She added that she hopes she can at least make it to December to share another Christmas with them.
(Tags for translation)Courtney