My Story: I was diagnosed in September 2015 after I had been having a pain in my side for about a month. After multiple tests, scans and doctor visits, I had surgery on 10/2/15 to remove a 17 pound tumor. I started chemo in November and went through 20 infusions of the AIM chemo regime. My mom passed away during this time as well. Saying goodbye to her ripped my heart out, but her eternal love saw me through the toughest of days. I also had a great team of doctors at the University of Colorado Hospital and the most wonderful family and friends who were with me every step of the way. Even though cancer sucks, I gained so much in terms of seeing and experiencing great love and friendship. God’s mercy and grace has blown me away and I will never doubt that love and prayer is the best medicine. The past year has been surreal in the sense that I am a healthy, active 49-year-old mom of two beautiful daughters. How in the heck did I end up with cancer? The truth is, it can happen to any one of us. In October of 2016, I learned that the tumor had returned. Very disappointing, but grateful for my doctor and the frequent scans. It was caught while still small (although growing at a fast rate). Chemo treatments have already begun and the hope is to have surgery in early 2017 to remove the tumor again. I am staying strong, fighting hard and living large. I told my doctor that I need a treatment plan that has a 40 year survival rate! My kids need their mom!
My Words of Wisdom: The blessing of modern medicine is marvelous, but the power of prayer and love cannot be denied. Being loved and supported by friends and family is the best medicine. In terms of your cancer care, question everything. Cancer patients deserve straightforward information and truth. Do your research because a team of great doctors who have dedicated their lives the finding a cure is where you want to put your faith and trust. Don’t try to be superhuman. Express your fears, pain, anger – get it out there so you can deal with it on move forward in a positive direction. Surround yourself with positive and loving people. Laugh, joke around – be a little crude if you need to use humor as your shield at times. Watch funny movies, read funny books, tell your friends that you want and need to laugh! Share your love and pass forward all kinds of goodness. But don’t forget to cry when you need to release those deep, heart wrenching emotions. It is all part of the beauty of life. The good and the bad… the ying and the yang. Learning to dance in your sorrow doesn’t mean you are denying the pain. It means our lives are one big beautiful creation of happy, sad, calm, crazy, peaceful, chaotic, sensible, ridiculous situations.
Role of the Sarcoma Foundation of America: I am thankful for the efforts the SFA puts into finding a cure and supporting patients. All the research and advancement they support buys all of us more time. And with more time, the more likely there will continue to be new treatments, therapies, medicines the help sarcoma patients live a longer and more fulfilling life. I ran in the inaugural Race to Cure Sarcoma 5k in Denver and it was so inspiring to be with other patients and survivors as we keep moving forward to fight this nasty disease.