After cancer diagnosis, new bride is thankful to be home and healthy for Thanksgiving

Melissa Cocita

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 26, 2019 — Most brides spend the weeks before their wedding putting the final details together for their big day.

Melissa Cocita sat in a doctor’s office and was told she had stage-three breast cancer. And not just any type of breast cancer — invasive ductal carcinoma that was triple positive, meaning her cancer was on overdrive and spreading rapidly.

She had a choice: honeymoon or chemotherapy.

On April 20, Melissa walked down the aisle surrounded by family and friends and married Cory Cocita. Three days later, Melissa and Cory walked together down a hospital aisle.

“Melissa’s diagnosis would have been a death sentence in 2004,” said Dr. Carlos Alemany, hematology and oncologist at AdventHealth.

The Cocitas skipped their honeymoon as Melissa urgently needed to begin grueling treatment and procedures.

After six cycles of chemotherapy, Cocita underwent bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction followed by radiation therapy. She also celebrated another milestone: turning 40.

Cocita ushered in this new chapter of her life surrounded by friends and family.

She closed out another chapter with dozens of coworkers by her side, who watched joyfully as she rang a bell, commemorating her final cancer treatment, at the AdventHealth Cancer Institute.

“I have learned that I can move mountains when faced with adversity,” Cocita said. “Celebrate every single victory, no matter how great or small. Because that victory means that you are one step closer to being cancer-free!”

And this Thanksgiving, Cocita has much to be thankful for.

“This Thanksgiving and holiday season mean more than any before,” said Cocita. “I would run out of time before I could list out why I’m thankful, but above all, I’m grateful to be alive.”