10 May F*Cancer 2019: “Fighters” – Libby Mongue
Welcome to the 2019 F*Cancer Blog – “Fighters”
This is a raw, unedited look in to the lives of those that have been personally affected by cancer. We wanted to be able to use our resources as a platform for individuals to share their take and outlook on a terrible disease. This nine week program will feature a different fighter each Friday leading up to the launch of the 2019 F*Cancer program in June. We stand with all those who have been affected and want to make positive strides to further education, awareness, and support. We are nearing the launch of the 2019 program and are excited to bring you our 6th blog in the “Fighters” series. We are honored to bring you the story of Libby Mongue.
” My Story is more than ‘My Story’ “
“It may have started with my diagnoses, but my caregivers, the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life and the ACS Cancer Action Network all play major roles.”, Libby stated.
Libby’s journey began with a funny gurgling in her throat, itchy skin, and terrible hiccups. Like many who first receive their diagnosis, these symptoms were not an immediate concern for Libby. At the time, she was 20 years old, a full time college student, working part time at a veterinary clinic, and a very active community volunteer. her little sister was in her senior year of high school, her brother was attending a local college, her mother a part time stay at home mom, and part time “laboratory goddess” in a plant tissue culture lab, and her dad was a plumber in their local union.
“My mom and I both thought maybe I had mono, so with a little prodding from her, I made an appointment to see a doctor. My mom was a thyroid cancer survivor, so besides the check up and basic blood work, he thought I should have an ultrasound of my thyroid to rule out any issues there. That ultrasound proved that there was nothing wrong with my thyroid, but the masses that they found just above my collar bone were not normal.”, Libby stated.
She goes on to say, “And with all of that, in about three weeks I had gone from a fairly normal young adult, to being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Nodular sclerosis, stage two. I had officially become a cancer patient.”
She had four cycles of chemo, in a little over the next four months. The first week of a cycle, she and her mom drove to the hospital five days a week for her treatment. Week two was off, week three was one day of chemo, and week 4 was off. They repeated that three more times. Although she and her mom were already exceptionally close, they had some extreme bonding time between those hour long commutes to the hospital, hanging out all day for chemo, and then an hour and a half drive back home in traffic.
As with most individuals fighting this battle, Libby had to go through the ringer. Hair loss, nausea and vomiting, and dropping 30 pounds were only a few of the hardships that she faced over the early stages of her treatment. “I never was a hat person or a wig person, so I went “commando” per say. My brother drew artwork on my head, and I made use of a lot of fake tattoos! My mom loved my bald head, first of all because I have a pretty well shaped head, and second because it reminded her of when I was a baby.”, Libby stated.
“I feel blessed though, Relay for Life (a fundraising effort put on by American Cancer Society) has opened me to a whole other family, and luckily, that included several “other mothers” who have stepped up to fill some pretty big shoes, or Birkenstock’s actually, for those who knew my mom.”
When looking at her fundraising efforts for cancer research Libby went on to say, “Last year I even got a little crazy and convinced friends that not only could we run Hood to Coast for the first time , but that we would also raise almost $30,000 in about 9 months for the American Cancer Society while we were at it!”
“I’ll keep fighting back for as long as I can, because this Auntie wants to make sure we keep seeing improvements in cancer survival rates and a reduction in long term side effects. I’ve got a pretty cool little niece and I want to be around to share her first pint of F*cancer beer!”