Diagnosis: Proximal-Type Epithelioid Sarcoma
Maria grew up in the historical village of Greendale, where she and much of her family still reside. After high school, she was accepted into her dream college, the University of Florida, where she planned to major in microbiology with hopes of pursuing a career in genetic research. Life happened and plans changed. After that first year in Florida, she returned to Wisconsin and began working full-time at a veterinary hospital. She eventually got married and had two daughters.
In March of 2008 she began to experience pain in her right leg. The pain did not subside, and Maria attributed it to having injured herself. Months later, still convinced that she was dealing with an injury, she decided to pursue a visit to an orthopedic surgeon, anticipating a referral for some physical therapy. An MRI showed Maria that there was a tumor in her upper thigh/groin area and that it was likely serious. She was immediately referred to Froedtert & MCW's Clinical Cancer Center, specifically the sarcoma team.
On her youngest daughter's third birthday, a biopsy confirmed the worst: It was a high-grade, aggressive soft-tissue sarcoma called proximal-type epithelioid sarcoma. In the midst of a divorce, Maria underwent aggressive inpatient chemotherapy, five weeks of radiation therapy, and a lengthy surgery to finally remove the tumor in January of 2009.
She is happy to report that the cancer has not returned. Maria has since remarried a wonderful man named John, and her daughters are now approaching their teen years, something Maria thought she would not be alive to see.
In October of 2011, she joined the Froedtert Hospital Clinical Cancer team. She currently works as a Program Coordinator for Cancer Support Services where she feels blessed to work in cooperation with nurse clinical coordinators to coordinate events and programs focused on meeting the various needs of those going through cancer treatment.