A youth librarian who used to learn about the world mostly through books, Melissa allowed cancer to inspire her to explore the globe in real life. (Warning… if you struggle with FOMO, you may want to stop reading now!)
Born and raised in Baltimore, Melissa had remained primarily a hometown girl well into her late twenties. She was at a high point in her career, creating engaging programming for children in the public library system, and was starting to map her future by investing in a home in Baltimore and a place at Virginia Beach – really feeling on track – when she felt a lump.
Melissa’s gynecologist swiftly delivered her diagnosis of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and arranged for her to begin a whirlwind of treatment right away in August 2019. She was only 30.
Melissa silenced her fear and anger, had a port placed in her chest, and began five months of IV chemotherapy. It never occurred to her that she might be able to make a choice to stop working, and she endured a daily four hour round-trip commute to her library outside Washington, D.C. while dealing with fatigue and other side effects.
That December, before the conclusion of her chemo, Melissa celebrated its end with a trip to Disney World. Maybe it was chemo brain fog, maybe it was that magic that only Mickey and Minnie can create, but while Melissa arrived at Disney World with cancer, she left with a serious travel bug.