PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With Mother’s Day and the annual Race For The Cure a little over a week away, positive thinking has helped a New Jersey mom battle cancer.
Running is Erika Hauer’s lifeblood. Even when she was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer, she kept running.
She is a powerhouse among a growing number of breast cancer patients who are surviving thanks to treatment advances and early detection.
“Somebody early on said, ‘This isn’t a sprint; this is a marathon.’ And I took it piece by piece,” Hauer said. “I would get on a treadmill on my worst days and put it on a two and just hold on and drag my feet.”
Hauer has been a runner for years. She was in great shape and had a clean mammogram six months before she felt the lump when she was 41.
“There was about two days of crying, staying in bed, and then I was over it and had to do what I needed to do,” Hauer said.
But first, she had to tell her girls.
Erika and her husband got their young teenage girls together for the talk.
“We said that mommy was sick and my 10-year-old said, ‘It’s not cancer though, right?’ And so that was the saddest day,” Hauer recalled. “That was probably the worst day of all of it.”
But Hauer, the eternal party girl, made each infusion and surgery a festive theme party and she kept running, doing the New York City Marathon months after surgery.
And she also kept working, as Hauer works as a pediatric nurse at Cooper University Hospital.
“Well, it’s very hard to switch from nurse to patient,” Hauer said. “Sometimes knowledge is power and sometimes knowledge is scary because maybe I knew a little too much.”
But Hauer hung on to that positive attitude with her group at last year’s Race For The Cure, as her chemo was ending.
And now she’s done with treatment.
“There’s definitely worry,” Hauer said. “There’s definitely fear. There’s definitely anxiety but I can’t, I can’t live like that. I have three children. I have a husband. I have friends. I have family. I wanna see everything, I hope. I’m 42 years old and I’ve got plenty of things to do.”
She has an incredible attitude and doctors say that’s an important part of the battle, finding ways to stay strong and positive through breast cancer treatments.