Feel Good Friday: A Fighting Spirit
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - It’s not normally a question one would ask a lady, but Mary Bobinski will happily tell you that she is 59-years-old. She is proud of every one of those years of life, particularly the last four.
That is when she was presented with a major life curveball is sharing her story. It’s a story about being grateful, even in the most trying of times.
Four years ago, the now-59-year-old suffered two strokes. Doctors searched for a reason, and after a battery of tests, she got the diagnosis: glioblastoma.
“I never thought I would be a brain cancer person. If I had anything, I thought it would’ve been maybe lung cancer; I was a smoker years and years and years ago when I was in college,” she explained.
Her initial prognosis was another six months, at best. Her husband and son kept that information from her at first, and looking back now, Mary says she believes that kept her focused ... and hopeful.
“I never asked ‘why me’. I thought, well, what do I gotta do to get through it,” she recalled.
Bobinski underwent a major surgery, followed by countless appointments for chemotherapy and radiation. Through it all, she lived her life with a single motto in mind: “suck it up buttercup.” She even had the phrase emblazoned on a t-shirt, one she still wears today. “I would wear that when I went into radiation every day, and the ladies always laughed at it!”
Slowly but surely, Mary recovered, surrounded by her many siblings, her husband, and son, Justyn, who at one point, considered putting off college because he didn’t want to leave her side to move to Columbus.
“I think she was worried about disrupting my future,” Justyn remembers now. “Which - when you’re looking at that 3-6 month diagnosis, pushing back going to school a semester ... it didn’t seem like a big deal to me.”
Justyn ended up studying engineering at University of Toledo so he could be by his parents’ sides, and he says the entire experience made them closer - and even more grateful.
Mary agrees. “It’s crazy. I’m a walking miracle. I mean, why else am I still here” she laughs.
It’s a question even her doctor pondered. “After my first year he goes, ‘wow. I can’t believe you’re still here’. He said ‘when I first met you, I thought you’re not going to make it for six months!’ I said, ‘how long was your longest cancer survivor with the glioblastoma multi-form,’ and he said ‘11 years.’ I said, ‘mark my words, I’m gonna beat her’”.
Mary continues to get an MRI every six months, and so far, her doctors are very happy with her progress. She now mentors others with cancer through the Victory Center, encouraging them to never give up.
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