Facing breast cancer treatment with loved ones by her side

The Marco Polo team was saddened to learn of ChellyRey’s passing in June 2020 and send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones. We were honored to get to know ChellyRey and share a piece of her inspiring story. Learn more about her brilliant life here.

With a family history of breast cancer, ChellyRey Reynolds knew her odds of developing the disease were higher than average. When a diagnosis came, she found herself prepared. But ChellyRey hadn’t anticipated needing extra reserves of courage and determination to comfort concerned family members.

So as she pursued an alternative course of treatment in Mexico, ChellyRey kept her loved ones close on Marco Polo. Together, they rallied their strength and kept the faith.

The hardest part

I discovered the lump last October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had just finished shooting a video featuring testimonials by powerful, beautiful breast cancer survivors, a project I developed to honor my grandmother and two aunts who had lost their lives to the disease.

When I got my diagnosis, I was alone. (They didn’t allow men in the screening area, which still baffles me.) In the changing room, I gathered my thoughts and steeled myself for what felt like the hardest part, sharing the news with my husband and family. I had unshakable faith that I’d survive this storm, but my heart broke at the worry it would cause everyone else. I had to remain strong enough to support them along the road ahead.

ChellyRey and family

An alternative path

Having seen both the grueling effects and the incredible expense of chemotherapy and radiation, after much prayer, I decided to follow a nontraditional, holistic course. I chose a protocol offered at a clinic in Mexico specializing in integrative medicine and immunological therapies. My husband and I made caregiving arrangements for the kids and packed our bags for Tijuana, where I embarked on a 21-day intensive treatment program. 

Following a double mastectomy, my daily regimen included intravenous vitamins, chelation, ozone therapy, coffee enemas, organic fresh-pressed juices, and periods of time in a hyperbaric chamber to help heal the wounds from surgery. 

I’m usually the strong one, but the intense routine and long days started to wear on me. One day I experienced this surreal moment when everything finally hit home. My sister had posted something on social media asking everyone to pray for me. I saw the word “cancer” next to my name and I thought, Wait, this is me? This is my life? Until then I hadn’t connected the two – there was cancer, and there was me. Separate. The reality took my breath. I wanted to turn inward.   

Easing their worry while harnessing my strength

Yet I had to keep my extended family informed. To them, cancer equaled death, and their worry intensified with me out of the country undergoing this alternative treatment. Allowing them to walk the path with me would give us all peace of mind. 

Our modest nonprofit salaries didn’t put us in a position to place international phone calls every day, but the clinic had Wi-Fi. That meant I could use Marco Polo. So each day, with one Polo, I could reassure everyone face-to-face without tapping out my reserves.  

I also used Marco Polo to draw strength from my own support network. Long before the cancer diagnosis, I had formed a large women’s group on Marco Polo called Sister’ing and a smaller, closer-knit subset called the Left Hand Ladies. Our motto is, “We do life together.”

As the treatment went to work on my body, these women helped sustain me emotionally, even during sleepless nights. Having their help in navigating my intense feelings lifted a huge burden from my husband and me. 

Portrait of ChellyRey Reynolds

Love, comfort, healing

Five months after my diagnosis, to the day, I learned I was cancer-free. I called my siblings first and then celebrated with my ladies on Marco Polo! I have a deep conviction that everyone’s love and comfort helped me heal. 

Marco Polo didn’t cure my breast cancer, but it brought peace of mind during the battle and proved to be so much more than just a video messaging app. It was a lifeline. 

Author, speaker, and coach ChellyRey Reynolds was named one of Orlando Magazine’s 2019 Women of the Year. Visit her website to learn more. 

12 thoughts on “Facing breast cancer treatment with loved ones by her side

  1. I personally met ChellyRay while my husband was undergoing treatment at the same Hospital she was in. Our journey ended differently. But, I still believe in healing & love God with all my heart. Steve no longer is in pain and I know he’s in Heaven. That’s comforting but, oh so different than how I thought things would go. I love ChellyRay and her family and Celebrate with them!!💙 Our God Reigns!!

  2. I’m absolutely blown away! A well deserved VICTORIOUS story worth sharing that will encourage millions of others. I love you Michelle! ❤️ THANK YOU Marco Polo for sharing her story with the world!

  3. I’m so happy that you shared your story. It really give others hope when faced with the same situation. I’m happy that you are healed.

    1. Leticia, thank you so much for reading ChellyRey’s story and for your comment. We agree on all counts! Feel free to share it with the people you love!

  4. As I read your story I kept thinking …What a courageous young lady and how blessed you were to have so many loved ones, friends and a loving husband standing by you and with you during your fight. I admire and praise you for the difference you are making in other lives. I’m so happy to read you are cancer free!! Yea!
    Then at the end I saw your beautiful healthy and glowing face in your photo.It made me smile to see you look amazing!
    Keep doing whatever your doing because it looks amazing on you!Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story about Marco Polo! This is a subject I can relate to with 4 grown children who are starting families and I’m six hours away. Without Marco Polo I couldn’t stand it. I have been able to watch my grandbabies grow from time they were born. The first time I got to visit it was so funny to see my grandson when he heard my voice but realized I was sitting on the couch across from him. He did a double take! It was hilarious to see his reaction because he knew who I was by video but not in real time. With him being familiar with me by video, I wasn’t a stranger. He was never afraid and acted as if I’ve always been right there. I will always be grateful for Marco Polo and how much joy it brings all in our family. I still don’t really understand how they can do all they do without charging everyone. I cant afford much but I am hoping to find out where to send any donations if needed. Again, thank you for sharing! May God continue to bless you and yours

    1. April, what a beautiful response and story. Thank you! We’re so glad that you and your family are staying close with Marco Polo.

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