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Woman who survived leukemia and breast cancer goes back to school, becomes oncology nurse

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - After beating cancer not once, but twice, an Indiana woman is now working with cancer patients as an oncology nurse.

Two-time cancer survivor Michelle McGovern, battled Leukemia when she was 11 years old - and was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37. After completing treatment, she decided to follow her calling to become a nurse.

"After all my treatment was complete, I just realized I had a lot of anxiety and was having a hard time," McGovern told WXIN. "On the outside, it looked like I was doing fantastic but on the inside, I was very anxious.”

McGovern has a master's degree in criminal justice and has worked in the IT field most of her life. After overcoming breast cancer, she went back to school to obtain her nursing degree.

“It was the breast cancer that made me realize," said McGovern. "I felt a deep pain, a deep sorrow realizing that life is so fragile. I’ve felt called to be a nurse since I was in probably high school and I didn’t do anything about it."

McGovern said once she discovered her true passion, she signed up for nursing classes and graduated as a RN in 2016.

She now works at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center where she takes care of cancer patients. She dedicates her time, at work and outside of work, to her patients.

"It could just as easily be me laying in that bed and it has been me that’s been the patient," McGovern said. "I totally understand and it takes it to a deeper level."

McGovern has been deeply involved with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and is serving as a Komen Ambassador this year. She also self-published a journal she wrote for her kids about her cancer journey.

“Everything has come full circle," said McGovern. "I feel great about the decisions I have made, my health is great, I really don’t have any complaints. To me, it was kind of like a bad bump, a long bump in the road, two of them- but it makes it part of who I am and that’s just part of my life experience.”