A "big part" of Stacey Stump's personality, she says, is her long, curly, chestnut-colored locks. So in 2014 when an annual mammogram revealed early stage breast cancer that would require chemotherapy, she worried that she might go bald. "When I heard I needed chemo, the only thing I was worried about was losing my hair," she recalled.
Doctors recommended she wear a "cold cap," which minimizes chemotherapy-induced hair loss during treatments. While she shed hair at the nape of her neck and had thinning above her ears, it wasn't noticeable to friends and even some family members.
Knowing the side effects of chemotherapy could have been far worse, Stacey counts her blessings each day. "I didn't get sick from chemo. I would have my treatment on a Thursday and go to work on Friday," said the financial analyst, who underwent four sessions of the treatment.
Stacey was also spared a mastectomy - instead, doctors recommended a lumpectomy and removed the tumor from her right breast. After surgery and chemo- therapy, she underwent six weeks of radiation - taken during her lunch breaks from work - which left her only slightly fatigued.
Looking back, the self-described optimist and survivor of nearly six years, says her determination and positive outlook have served her well during life's difficulties.
"While there is not a day that goes by that I don't think about the fact that I had cancer ... you have to be positive in negative situations," she said. "This is so you can move on, and you will."