Marsha discovered that she had breast cancer in 1995. Bruce asks Marsha what emotions she felt when she discovered her cancer. Marsha said that she felt fear, anxiety, and terror. Fortunately, Marsha is not the kind of person who dwells on negative thoughts for very long, so she quickly began to look for help. Bruce and Marsha went to four doctors before they found one that they were comfortable with. Marsha did a lot of personal research and reading on cancer as well. When Bruce and Marsha went to UCLA they felt like they were being treated as people rather than a disease.
Bruce asks Marsha how important she thinks her attitude has been in regards to her ability to survive cancer. Marsha thinks that her attitude has been crucial, because negativity immobilizes you. She had to be her own cheerleader. She kept thinking, “What can I do for myself, and where can I find people that will help me?”
Marsha thinks that it is important to believe in the choices you have made for yourself, rather than just relying on your doctor. Marsha believes in working with traditional medicine as well as complementary therapies. You have to be comfortable with what is happening and not just let the doctors take control of everything. You have to believe in what will work for you.
Bruce asks Marsha if most people who encounter cancer for the first time are very independent. Marsha thinks that most people are so fearful that they just hand their life over to their doctors. Sometimes Bruce and Marsha go to different doctors and they assume that certain things have already occurred. For example, some doctors have automatically assumed that Marsha has done the lymph node test, and when they discovered that Marsha did not do that they were amazed. Now Marsha is being told that in the future doctors will no longer even use the lymph node test, so many of the things that Marsha was stubborn about turned out to be unnecessary. Her instincts have proven to be correct over time.
Marsha is taking a new treatment now. Cancer takes people on an emotional roller coaster. Coming home from Marsha’s first surgery they went to Claim Jumper for a gigantic lunch. At that point, Bruce was feeling confident that they could handle what they were up against. Two days later, they were told that Marsha needed another surgery. That swing from feeling happy and relieved to feeling downhearted is very tough, and they have dealt with these types of disappointments for 14 years. It can be very emotionally draining.
There has been a new word that has emerged in Marsha’s place for treatment, and it is “remission.” In the past, remission has never been a word that anyone used. It is exciting to hear people say that they are in remission and it is important for people to have hope. Marsha has never taken traditional chemotherapy but she has spoken to people who are in chemotherapy. These people are completely drained, sick, and depressed. Marsha remembers one man who said, “I have nothing left to loose. I have lost my job, my home, and now there is nothing left other than my life.” Every attempt that Marsha has made to get treatment was an attempt to continue living, but many other people suffering from Marsha’s situation are getting treatment to prevent death. She has a much more hopeful outlook.
When Marsha started taking this new treatment she lost some hair, so she decided to shave her hair and get wigs. She took her friend Diana, and Diana almost started crying, but Marsha told Diana, “Don’t do that. I’m choosing to do this.” She told Bruce, “Its just hair, it grows back.” Marsha and Aaron have made fun of her wigs. Aaron named each of her wigs and given each one a personality based on their look.
When people hear that Marsha has cancer, they expect a certain demeanor that they do not receive. They look at her and say, “Well, you do not look sick.” This makes Marsha feel very good. Every day Marsha wakes up and thanks God for giving her another day, and for the little things that she is able to do again now that her right hand is no longer broken.
When Marsha came to the radio show, someone from the radio show approached her and told her that they know someone who has cancer. Bruce asked Marsha how often people approach her and ask her for help with a friend or relative with cancer. This has happened several times with her. She has been able to give advice to people using chemotherapy, and she has offered her time to talk to them should they need it.
Bruce asked Marsha if it is emotionally draining for her to talk to people who need help. Marsha said that it used to be but now she is glad to offer help to anyone who needs it.
Marsha currently has a couple oncologists and ten other physicians/therapists who help her. Bruce asks Marsha how important it is for her to have many different places for her to get help. Marsha thinks that it is very important because you need to treat cancer with multiple tactics. It is not all about medication; you also need nutritional support, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic help to relieve pain.
It can be overwhelming to watch Marsha’s daily schedule. She spends a large portion of her days taking care of her cancer needs, yet she continues to have a positive outlook. It can get exhausting taking supplements and having to eat a certain way all the time, but it becomes a lifestyle after a while. Every once and a while she has to get a burger.
There have been times where Marsha’s kids will ask if she still has cancer, because they cannot tell based on her attitude and the way she lives. If she feels good and acts good then everyone else feels better as well. Aaron is very proud of the way his mother is handling her cancer. Her strength, persistence, and stubbornness amazes him. There have been many times in which Bruce’s employees have cried in his office because of Marsha’s difficulties and that support is what makes the “I Survived Real Estate” event so important to Aaron. Every event they go to there are always people sending flowers and asking how Marsha is doing.
Bruce asks Aaron how people reacted to the event last year. Aaron said that many people were confused. He gets yelled at by people every month because people are expecting him to do advertising on the radio show. It was difficult to explain to people that The Norris Group and its partners were paying for the event so all TNG needed was for people to donate to or join the walk. This year the panel lineup is a real dream team and Aaron has been surprised by who decided to sign up.
Early in Bruce and Marsha’s marriage, Marsha’s father had lung cancer and he did not have a hopeful attitude. Bruce asked Marsha if her father’s reaction to cancer inspired her to act differently. Marsha said that when she saw him give up, she thought “I can’t believe that he is giving up so easily when he still has two sons to raise. If that ever happens to me, I will not give up like that.”
Marsha has learned a lot about herself through her experiences. She has discovered that she has a lot of inner strength. She does not let doctors push her around. She allows them to give her their opinion but always questions their judgment. Marsha enjoys her current oncologist because she is supportive, and she supports Marsha’s decisions.
Marsha has discovered who her real friends are through her experiences. She has had a lot of support from her family, and she has had a few friends who have not stuck around.
Marsha hopes that her family sees that they have the ability to withstand these difficulties as well.
If someone was recently diagnosed with cancer, the first thing that Marsha would tell them to do would be to relax, and start getting educated on their problems. Research your doctors and choose them wisely. Marsha also insists that people take the non-toxic treatments first, and use the toxic treatments as the last resort. Marsha takes baths with epson salt which helps take the toxins out of your body. There was a time where she was around multiple cancer patients and a doctor, and she suggested that the other patients try epson salt, but the doctor wasn’t supportive of her idea. Two weeks later, one of the ladies that she talked to about epson salt approached her and told her that she was feeling much better.
The event occurring on September 11 will be a formal event. For men, a tux is preferred, but not required. You can get involved by going to the website isurvived2009.com
You can donate to the walk or join the walk and raise the money to attend live for no cost to you while seats remain. If you raise 2000 dollars you can be a gold sponsor, and for 5000 you can be a platinum sponsor. Each seat is valued at $200 dollars so we ask everyone to donate or raise $200. That $200 must be made to our “I Survived Real Estate Walking Team” to count as sponsorship. Visit isurvived2009.com for more information.
Marsha Norris has four children, seven grandchildren, and has been married to Bruce Norris for 39 years. Marsha is a trained massage therapist and loves reading on holistic medicine, different massage techniques, and numerous other topics. She enjoys traveling and looks forward to seeing Alaska this summer.