[Melissa] When my mom was diagnosed it was just an innate feeling that it was time to care. It was time to step up to the plate. It felt like this is my duty. I’m her daughter, here we go.
I was in the process of becoming a dietitian. I’m a firm believer that you can fuel our bodies through food and heal.
I remember that it was a very joyous time to be graduating and it was quickly taken away from me.
She had a really bad diagnosis. Metastatic breast cancer.
[Leslie] The weekend that I found out, I said to the doctor, "Am I going to live?"
[Melissa] I took you to chemo and I said...
[Leslie] We were told, you will go through to chemotherapy, you will go to radiation, and you will live to a ripe old age.
[Interviewer] Did you believe them?
[Leslie] No. Not a word.
[Melissa] You look so pretty there.
I remember I would go into her room I would lay with her in bed and just cry. I had a really hard time with it.
[Leslie] It must have been horrible for you thinking that your mom wasn’t going to be here forever.
[Melissa] It was a concern of mine that I would have my wedding and my mother wouldn’t be there.
[Leslie] It wasn’t easy. It was very difficult.
[Melissa] I didn’t think my mom would walk me down the aisle. Like these were important moments of my life that I wanted.
[Leslie] When my diagnosis came along I’m like, no. I’m fightin’ this. I’m going to fight this and live for my kids. Yeah.
[Melissa] I just - I felt like as a family we would get through this.
[Leslie] Smell this smell.
[Melissa] We researched together on certain foods to include and avoid. And that’s really where I feel that I became even a better dietitian than I am today.
[Leslie] She knew that I wasn't going to be eating red meat anymore. There were combinations of food that I wasn’t going to do anymore. And so she really embraced that. That may have contributed to her success as the dietitian that she is today.
[Melissa] Cheers. To a great day.
[Leslie] To an amazing day. Yeah.
[Melissa] One day it just - I stopped worrying. It was a relief that came over me. My mom is my hero. Yeah. She’s incredible.
Melissa and Leslie's story: The power of food
When Melissa graduated from college in 2004, she knew she was going home to visit her mother, Leslie, in New Hampshire before starting her nutrition internship in New York City. But she didn't realize just how much their lives were about to change.