“My thesaurus lists some synonyms for the word HOPE: confidence, optimism, faith. After a while, I had confidence I would survive and I was optimistic about the future. I have always been sustained by family, friends, and faith.”
As a single mom of 3 young children and a middle school counselor, it’s clear that Judy Hyman spent her days supporting and caring for others. Diagnosed at 41, it’s hard to imagine the emotions Judy must have endured, especially as a single mom and knowing two of her aunts passed from breast cancer in their 40’s. She took life’s lemons and started making lemonade, just as she’d witnessed her parents do, and was back at school within three weeks of her diagnosis. Judy had several rounds of chemotherapy over the course of eleven months on Friday afternoons so that she had the weekend to recover from nausea and weakness.
The same year of her diagnosis and treatment, two of her students’ mothers were also diagnosed with breast cancer. She provided tireless support to these students and was the epitome of hope for their mothers. While making lemonade, Judy counted each passing year with gratitude, and when she reached 5 years as a survivor, she shared her news with everyone.
Judy is a forty-two-year survivor and celebrates each year not wanting to forget but to be grateful. She shared, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.”