AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — “I always felt supported and cared for, and trusted, which was huge for me.”
Meet Mattie Anthony. Wife, mother, cancer survivor, or as her coworkers put it, warrior. On September 25, 2020, she got the diagnosis that would change her life. Mattie was told she had stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I had some dark days of questioning, and struggling,” she said. “But my faith, truly, and the support carried me through.”
With the diagnosis, came a whirlwind of procedures, checkups and treatments. Mattie, who has a three-year-old daughter named Porter, received her port to begin chemo treatments on October, 6, 2020, her eighth wedding anniversary. She started treatment on October 12, 2020, and went through six rounds of chemotherapy, equaling a total of 12 treatments.
It was a roller coaster of emotions in that chapter of her life, but one, she said, that she’s grateful she didn’t have to travel alone.
“I couldn’t have gotten through it without family, coworkers and friends,” she said. “They just really showed how supportive they were through every stage.”
The diagnosis was the epicenter of a three-year health battle for Mattie. One that she was convinced was just after effects of bringing a new life into the world.
“After I had my baby, I was pretty severely anemic, and we were trying to figure out why that was,” she said. “I would visit doctors and they would tell me my inflammation markers were high and I needed to see a rheumatologist. I was convinced it was my body trying to repair itself after having a baby.”
After a series of tests, results showed Mattie had developed a swollen lymph node above her collar bone. A red flag for cancer, especially lymphoma.
But there is great news. Mattie finished her final chemo treatment on April 22, with a celebration in the parking lot. Even better, she was declared cancer-free just last week, on June 21, and returned to work on June 22. And, get this, Mattie is a big fan of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton”. When “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda heard about Mattie’s battle, he sent her a hand-written letter.
Her work family…overwhelmed with joy.
“I couldn’t stop from crying,” said Casey Long, Senior Resource Development Director at United Way Amarillo & Canyon, and Mattie’s supervisor. “She kept saying through the whole thing, ‘I’m just gonna have my moment, but I’m gonna pick up my sword’, and I felt like she had that sword in her hand.”
She may not have realized it at the time, but as Mattie continued to fight, she was teaching valuable lessons along the way.
“One of the things I learned from Mattie is that I think she was so good about telling people upfront, ‘Hey, here’s what I’m going through, here’s what I need help with’,” said Katie Noffscar, Executive Director of United Way Amarillo & Canyon. “To see how Mattie did it, we shouldn’t be surprised that the response was just an outpouring of love. You can’t love someone if you don’t know that they’re struggling.”
Carrying her sword every day, one positive interaction at a time.