“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.”
At the age of 40, Pauline May is a lively mother of 3. Living in University Place, Washington, she is a part time director of early childhood ministries at University Place Presbyterian Church and a full-time mom/wife. Her children are – Reegan (age 15), Jack (age 11), and James (age 8) – and her husband is David May, a full-time law enforcement officer with a large metropolitan department and an active member of the agency’s SWAT Team. Pauline is a part of University Place CrossFit which is owned and operated by her sister-in-law and sister-in-law’s husband. It opened in January of 2018 – Pauline is the Director of Motivation and her husband is a Level-1 CrossFit instructor. Pauline’s favorite lifts are back squats and deadlifts. She also notes “Pistols are fun! I’m getting better at handstand push-ups and learning to do handstand walks.”
In March of 2013, Pauline felt a lump on her left breast and was referred to Carol Milgard Breast Center for a mammogram. Pauline says “Days later, I was back at the center with my husband for the results. I remember the doctor showing us the mass on the x-ray and telling us it was cancer. At that moment, I was certain they had the wrong person. I was only 35, an avid runner, and healthy. It was very rare for me to ever get sick. The rest of that visit is a blur for me. I don’t remember even listening to anything else the doctor had told us. Fortunately, my husband was there and able to hear everything and tell me later.” Pauline had no prior family cancer either. She says “I took a BRCA test to see if I had the genetic gene, but it came back negative.” In 2014, Pauline had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. Following with seven weeks of radiation and a year of chemo. Pauline went into remission in 2015. Sadly, in May of 2017, Pauline received some alarming news. She says– “I found out that the breast cancer was back, except it is now in my bones. I have a large lesion on the back of my left hip, another large lesion in the front left side pelvic area, and several small lesions all throughout my spine.” This leads us to the present. Pauline walks us through her normal day – “The lesions on my bones are stable and I’m not in any pain. I’m taking two oral chemo drugs, one id called Ibrance and the other is called Femara. I take them both daily. I also get a bone infusion once a month with a drug called Zometa. That is helping heal and strengthen the bines where the larger lesions were found. My days are just like anyone else. I have three kids that I run everywhere from school to their sports activities. I work part-time, got to the gym every day, and hang out with friends.”
Pauline has added travel to her bucket list since her diagnosis. She says “I’d love to travel around Europe, Ireland, and Scotland – see the castles, experience the culture and history.” During her time in chemo and radiation, she discovered Games and Thrones and Vikings and binged-watched all of them. To Pauline, TV wasn’t the biggest help during recovery – music and books were. “A couple songs that I listened to over and over were Ain’t No Grave by Crowder and The Comeback by Danny Gokey.” She also notes “I absolutely love to read and once I start a good book, it’s hard to pull me away. Unless I’m at gym.” Pauline reads a lot of books but says Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker is by far her favorite. Pauline and her family are active members at University Place Presbyterian Church and are always involved in functions that take place there. She notes that her favorite bible verses are
“But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
– Isaiah 40:31 NIV
“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.”
– Proverbs 31:25
Jillian, Pauline’s husband’s cousins wife, noted – “I admired her strength and positivity throughout the whole process. I never saw her without a smile on her face.” Melissa, a friend, shared a fun story – “Pauline and I have been friends for the last 17 years. Our husbands have been friends since grade school and we actually go married together in Vegas…crazy right!” She also said Pauline is “so sweet, strong, positive, and her faith with God is huge!”
Pauline concludes with “I have tried to make this fight into an opportunity. An opportunity to inspire positivity and show others that there is happiness on the other side of fear. Fear comes from focusing on what you do not have, but there is freedom in focusing on what you do have. We have love and the gift of today.