YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Flipping through their wedding album, Frank and Jocelyn Mader reminisced about the day they said, “I do.”
Those photos — in which the couple is holding hands, dancing and kissing — do not hint at the next chapter that would unfold for the Maders.
“We had our expectations for what a first year of wedding and marriage would be, and that kind of drastically changed once we were on our honeymoon,” Jocelyn said.
That was when the 32-year-old found a lump the size of a ping pong ball on her left breast.
Jocelyn was young and had no family history and no symptoms, so the news that she had cancer was unexpected.
Jocelyn’s official diagnosis date was June 24, 2014, and the couple said that is when their highs of newly-wedded bliss came crashing down.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” Frank said.
What the newlyweds did know was that they had each other. Even through the tears and dark days, thinking about the worst-case scenario, their faith never wavered.
“We took our vows in sickness and in health, so we knew no matter what, we would get through it,” Jocelyn said.
Five months after her diagnosis — and after eight rounds of chemotherapy which left her without hair — Jocelyn finished her chemotherapy. She then had her surgery in December, and just six days before their first Christmas as a family, the call came.
“So I answered it, and it was my surgeon, and she said, ‘I just want to let you know, you are a rare case.’ She was like, ‘you are in complete pathological remission,'” Jocelyn recalled.
Jocelyn eagerly shared the happy news with loved ones, including with her daughter Mackenzie, and wrote about it online.
“The social media aspect of it has really helped me cope with the entire journey. I’ve been able to process a lot of my emotions,” she said.
Jocelyn’s Journey now has more than 1,400 Facebook followers. Some are strangers, others have become friends, supporting her through every post and every snapshot.
Jocelyn personally responds to every message posted on her Facebook page. She said it has been her encouragement throughout her journey.
“A certain encouraging word or a smile can really go a long way,” she said.
And the future is now coming into focus. The couple is taking their journey one step at a time, and sharing it with friends and family.
“I don’t know where I would be if he wasn’t here,” Jocelyn said of her husband, crying.
Self breast exams are credited with catching 20 percent of all breast cancers, but they can be easy to forget. That is where Buddy Check 27 comes in.
By signing up for Buddy Check on WKBN’s website, you will receive a monthly reminder for self breast exams.
Jocelyn said she has continued with the checks, even though she is now cancer-free.
“I have been encouraged by my oncologist to, even though my scans are clear and I am in remission, to continue with the self breast exams,” she said.