Doctors told Marily Considine she’d get excited when the fist-size lump protruding from her chest started to disappear. She laughed.
But, by the fourth of her eight chemotherapy treatments, the large mass shrank, which meant the medicine was working and worth the nausea and pain it caused.
“I was like, ‘I’m not going to get excited. I am not happy about this at all’” said Considine, who was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer at 32 years old.
“The first and second treatment we wondered, ‘Is this really doing anything?’” said Considine’s husband, Maj. John Considine, an engineer operations officer at III Corps. The results helped keep her positive throughout the experience.
Marily Considine, a volunteer for Fort Hood USO and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, battled breast cancer in September 2010 while supporting her husband and their two children.
She was named Military Spouse of the Year for Fort Hood’s instillation by Military Spouse magazine and is now in the second round of competition, where she hopes to be named Military Spouse for the Army later this month.
Her sister, Jocelyn Kwon, nominated her and although Considine was hesitant to enter, once she realized it would give her the opportunity to share her experience with other Army spouses going through similar situations, she was thrilled.
“There’s not a prize or crown. It’s more a platform; a chance for you to go to D.C. and speak about your ideas for how to improve the lives of military spouses,” Considine said. “A lot of times as military spouses, we go to other military spouses when we have issues, but we didn’t know anybody else that had cancer so we had to go outside of the military to get (support) and information we needed.”
Considine’s family doesn’t have a history with cancer and she’s never had chicken pox or broken a bone, which made the diagnosis shocking. When the doctor spoke the words, “You have breast cancer,” she tuned everybody out and cried. The first thought her mind went to was death.
“It was a very numb experience. I was young and healthy,” she said. “I didn’t understand.”
Looking back, Considine realizes the strides doctors are making in cancer research, which results in a higher survival rate. With the platform of military spouse of the year, she hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of others going through similar situations.
“If I can make a difference and help people out with it, then maybe going through all that will be worth it,” she said.
Military spouses have a hard job, John Considine said. “We get to spend every day getting training and preparing for our job and even on deployments we do our job, and they have to continue to support everything here.”
He’s proud of his good-hearted wife, who wants to create a central location at every installation that provides all the information and support spouses need while their husbands are deployed and they’re at home facing a serious illness.
“A lot of those spouses feel so alone in their battle,” Marily Considine said. “I’d love to reach out to any spouse and just be there for them because I know as a military spouse, they’re not going to ask for help because they’re used to doing it on their own, but they’re going to need it.”