Julie Moser knew she would have to say goodbye in just a matter of hours. Her soldier husband, Sgt. Robert Moser, was about to deploy to Afghanistan and she had to hurry. But as she rushed to finish showering, she felt something long and hard in her left breast.
Uncertain, she felt it again but the lump didn’t budge.
By the time her husband’s plane took off, Julie Moser had already seen the doctor and was waiting for a biopsy. It was Oct. 3.
“I was never one to do self-breast exams, but I knew something just wasn’t right,” said Moser, who turns 40 this year.
When her doctor called to confirm she had stage two inductal carcinoma breast cancer, Moser had just mailed her husband his first care package. She sat in her car in the post office parking lot and cried and cried. Life as she knew it was over.
“I kept myself busy waiting the days leading up to finding out if she had cancer,” said Robert Moser, who is a medical evacuation specialist with the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 227 Aviation Regiment. “I felt so helpless and I was so far away. Thankfully, the Army sent me home immediately so I could be with her.”
Their daughters, Loren, 13, and Emily, 6, needed dad, too. There was cheer practice, four dogs to feed, and elementary school meetings to attend. Then there was Julie Moser’s college graduation in two months.
“I was a full-time student and working at my (Defense Department) job on base, and I didn’t know that I could do it all,” she said. “I still don’t know how I graduated with honors.”
Two days after she received her bachelor’s degree, Julie Moser underwent surgery for a double mastectomy. That was in December. She still has one full year of radiation followed by reconstructive surgery, but her cancer is treatable.
“Having cancer is a humbling experience,” she said. “I appreciate the little things and small moments now, and I’ve learned to slow down. On bad days, I remind myself that I’m still here and still breathing, and that my family’s here and tomorrow is another day.”
But Moser’s battle extends beyond her fortitude. She has no income unless someone at work donates their leave and her medical bills are steadily piling up.
That’s where Michele’s Floral and Gifts comes in. This Valentine’s Day, the local florist has created a “Julie Moser Loving Hearts” arrangement that costs $13; all proceeds go directly to help with Moser’s medical bills.
The outpouring of support from the community has taught Moser and her daughter great lessons.
“It made me realize that it’s okay to ask for help,” Loren Moser said.
Her mother agreed.
“You never know what you can endure unless you go through it,” she said.