Metro Detroit mother and daughter battle separate breast cancer diagnosis together

Brenda Rushlow and her daughter Pamela Haddox share more than just family ties. Each is battling breast cancer - and facing their daily struggle like it could be their last. 

"We live our life like we don't have it," said Rushlow, 69, through tears describing the hardships she and her daughter have faced.

It's also twin battle each is waging has also sparked deeper, tougher questions.

"What's going to happen to my loved ones, my children, my grandchildren, you know are they all going to be okay?" Haddox said. "It's planning funerals for yourself so your loved ones won't have to deal with that when they leave and at the same time trying to be positive and still try to carry on your day-to-day life."

The duos' experience are eerily similar. 

Both have metastatic breast cancer, meaning it has spread to other parts of the body. And both have already beat the illness, just to see it return.

Haddox remembers it first showing up in her neck, her armpits. She said her abdomen had "huge clusters" of cancer cells. The 48-year-old beat her first diagnosis when she learned of it in 2008. Now 13 years later, it's returned.

"It came back. I followed up everything I was supposed to do, all my mammograms," she said. "I felt a lump in my neck - I know this is not normal so I went to the doctor and after a biopsy, it was breast cancer again in my lymph nodes."


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Lori Nimmo went from caregiver to patient.

She uses a port near her collar bone for drug injections to target the cancer cells. She's worked to keep a positive attitude and stay upbeat both physically and mentally. 

"My goal is to get to 60 so we'll see what happens," said Haddox. Her bucket list also includes seeing the Detroit Lions play in the Superbowl. 

For Rushlow, 69, it's also been tough. But she's taken solace in sharing the emotions and trauma and grief with her daughter. 

Despite the uphill battle that cancer presents, this era in medicine is considered a promising time when it comes to treating metastatic breast cancer. Research has led to drug therapies, which has increased survival for patients.