Optimistic Mother Battles Cancer

Web Producer: Brad Maglinger

When you see the faces of women dressed in pink, you're going to be surprised at how young some of them are.

Michelle Head was first diagnosed at age 34, and while there have been some moments of hope, it seems the news from her doctors just keeps getting worse. Yet, her outlook couldn't be better.

Every minute with her children is special for Michelle. If she could just shake the cough she has, she could enjoy them even more. But the cough is really the only sign there's something wrong here. "I always say I wish I was as healthy as I looked," says Michelle.

Always in great shape, Michelle ran in the first two Race for the Cure events. In 2001, she traded in her running shoes for a pink T-shirt. That was the year she was going through chemo and radiation for the lump she had found in her breast.

"This July, I had a routine scan and unfortunately the cancer had come back in three places, in my lung, in my liver and in my femur," Michelle says.

The worst possible news and yet, there is still hope. Soon, she'll start making trips to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to begin a clinical trial on an experimental drug designed to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.

"I'm excited and scared," states Michelle. "A lot of drugs that I've already been on haven't worked and so hopefully the drugs that are in clinical trial right now. If approved, they're going to be better than what's already out there."

In the meantime, housework can wait. Michelle will be spending every minute she can playing with her kids. If she looks too far ahead, she says she feels overwhelmed.

"I just have my priorities in order. I have a totally new perspective on life. I count my blessings every day and that's what gets me by."