Maryland Moms on Surviving Cancer: Liz Park

This is the last story in a series featuring Maryland moms who have had to battle cancer while caring for kids. Today is the story of Liz Park, of Columbia, who has battled breast cancer.

Be sure to read the first three stories in the series on Amy Babst's fight against Hodgin's Lymphoma, Julie Lanahan's battle with breast cancer and Suzanne Ludicke's brush with colon cancer.

cancerMomLizWLiz Park's fight against breast cancer

Staying strong was a necessity for Liz Park of Columbia. When Park, 46, was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, she was determined to be tough and not let it change her life. Park had a lumpectomy, 12 weeks of chemotherapy and 12 weeks of radiation. She never felt sick and she only missed three days of work throughout the entire ordeal after her surgery.

"I never felt sick and I never said I was sick," says Park. "I think it's mind over matter."

Staying strong for the family

Park refused to show any sign of sickness in front of her children, Madison, 12, and William III, 9. Not long after the diagnosis, Park and her husband William Jr. told their children.

"They both started crying. I don't think they knew what it meant, but they heard the word cancer and they think I'm going to die," Park says.

Her parents and other family members were also worried, which, in a way forced Park to keep it together. "It was almost like it was more pressure holding them all together," Park says. "It was like everybody was falling apart around me. I just kind of kept my normal going. If they thought I was OK, then they were OK."

Park reserved her crying for late nights with her husband in bed. That was her time to relieve stress and express fears.

There are chances the cancer might return. "They're pretty clear that I'll get it again," Park says. Living with cancer has changed the family's perspective. They live for the present.

"We definitely live for the now. We used to be like 'Let's save up. Let's do this when we're 50.' Not now. I personally cherish and try to not miss anything for my kids. You get so caught up in your life and you take it for granted."