Did you know that World Cancer Day is February 4, 2017? It is a day that people all across the world united to fight against cancer. While we have come a long way in the research and fight against cancer, we still have not found a cure. I hope that one day we can say there is no longer a World Cancer Day, because that will mean that we have found a cure for the terrible disease that steals so much from so many.
Today, I want to share with you Stories of Hope in observance of World Cancer Day.
My Story of Hope:
Did you know that I am one in 15 million? You may be one in 15 million, too. Recently, I celebrated EIGHT years as a cancer survivor! What a blessing.
I am grateful to be a survivor of the dreaded disease. A few years ago, I posted about National Cancer’s Survivor Day and how I had spent that day. I am grateful to be a survivor of the dreaded disease. I had a moment of celebration. Nothing fancy. No family cookout or barbecue. In fact, I simply posted on my Facebook page to inform others of the significance of the day and then I said a prayer.
It was a short prayer. I thanked God that he healed me and thanked him for continued healing every day. Prayer does not have to be a formal ritual. Prayer is just a conversation with God. I talk to him like I talk to everyone else. I just say different things.
I celebrate survivors of all cancers. To go through cancer treatment, you have to be a warrior because you fight for your life. I celebrate you or someone you know.
In the midst of celebration, I pause for a reality check and pray for those who are fighting this very minute for their life. My prayer for you is that you have strength, and are surrounded with support from family and friends. Please know that you are not alone. I do not know you but I pray for you every day.
“I was diagnosed with an advanced stage aggressive breast cancer on the afternoon of my 43rd birthday. After many doctors appointments for opinions on treatment and prognosis, appointment after appointment I was given the same prognosis: Poor. I was not certain which class party for my 3 and 5 year old boys would be my last but it appeared to be imminent.
I built my “A team” of physicians and started a local clinical trial for my chemotherapy.
After two years of chemotherapy, surgery and five weeks of radiation, I felt like I could start to breathe again. Two months later my much younger friend with the same type of breast cancer as me learned her cancer had metastasized. I immediately went to the internet in hopes to find her a clinical trial. Although I was not able to find a trial for my friend, I found a Phase I breast cancer vaccine trial that could possibly help me at the Mayo Clinic.
While trying to comprehend the language of the trial, the logistics of frequently getting to an institution a few states away, and the overwhelming thoughts of how we were possibly going to be able to afford it, I found Lazarex Cancer Foundation. I knew the moment I spoke to their Patient Navigator, Karen Weixel, and then to Tami Keeler, their Patient Services Manager, I knew I was going to somehow make it into this promising trial.
With the never ending support of my employer and managers at United Airlines, and with the assistance from Lazarex, I successfully completed the two year breast cancer vaccine clinical trial in Minnesota. I will still try and go to the Mayo Clinic once a year for their care but it no longer will have anything to do with the spectacular trial I was in. Was in… wow! It is ironic to me that United Airlines who afforded me so much flexibility, compassion and support during my diagnosis and treatment, is a grantor to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation – the very foundation that afforded me the opportunity to participate in such an exciting trial.
Clinical Trial Results
The trial I participated in has been so promising it has since moved onto Phase II. We had 21 participants in our Phase I portion and we all had the same type of aggressive high recurrent-risk breast cancer. We are all currently disease free! What a Blessing.
I am forever grateful to so many – especially United Airlines and to Lazarex Cancer Foundation.
I’d love to write more but I have class party snack ideas I am planning for my now 8 and 10 year old boys!”
I am inspired every time I read Christy’s story and every time a talk with her. She was and still is an advocate for herself and others.
Thank you, Christy for participating in clinical trials and for sharing your story with us.