For each PuppyUp Walk, the Event Manager and their Walk Team select both a Human Cancer Hero and a Canine Cancer Hero, to be honored during the Walk ceremonies.
These Heroes are chosen because of their exemplary attitude towards their particular type of cancer, showing bravery and hopefulness in their fight against this terrible disease.
The 2018 Human Hero is Carrie Anderson. Her story is shown below.
So let me tell you a little about my last year. In January of last year, I was about 3 months into my new job at FedEx. I was feeling fantastic. New job, a busy social life, great hair…I had it all. That is, until my yearly mammogram. I never gave this any thought because there was no history of breast cancer in my family. So when it came back showing “something suspicious,” I assumed it was just a cyst. It was not. After meeting with Dr. Fine here at West and his wonderful PA Ashley, the short story is I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The good news is, it was “the good cancer,” which is totally NOT a thing, but it is a very treatable form of the disease. The big man, Dr. Schwartzberg, recommended I do a little chemo, lumpectomy, radiation, and get back to my life.
So we jump forward to August. I was done with treatment, was growing back my hair (Thank God) and was about to start radiation. There I was, fresh off my ‘win’ over breast cancer, high fiving everyone and feeling pretty good about myself. But as we know, cancer doesn’t play by the rules.
One weekend, after having breakfast with friends, I just wasn’t feeling right all day. That night, I started making regular sacrifices to the porcelain god. With my online medical degree, I diagnosed myself as having a gallbladder attack. My mom had had her gallbladder out many years ago, and I had many of the same symptoms.
I went to the Minor Med, which in turn sent me to the ER. I was poked, prodded, x-rayed, CT’d, ultrasounded, you name it. Long story short, it wasn’t my gallbladder.
Turns out my easy to cure breast cancer wasn’t so easy after all. It had metastasized to my liver. So back on the cancer train…this time, I got ‘the red devil.’ The hard stuff. All in hopes that I’ll knock the little cancer biotch down again and be on my merry way. But what you all may not know about me…I consider myself to be the RED DEVIL! I have faced down angry athletes three times my size in the locker room after a loss. Meds, disease…I’m not intimidated. The Fight On 5K last year…I walked it the day after receiving a dose of the red devil. 6 rounds of the stuff, and my scan in March and last week…showed no evidence of disease! I kicked cancer’s butt back in the summer, and I’m currently kicking cancer’s butt again!
The last year has been scary, I admit it. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about cancer. I often feel like my future was stolen away from me. But the reality is, cancer or not, no one knows what their future holds.
I’ve gone from the end result being a cure, to having metastatic breast cancer. The current research says I will never be cured. I don’t exactly understand why this is, but I don’t need to. It’s something I DO NOT accept. I believe in hope. That’s what everyone is to me and everyone who’s fighting the little c…hope. We are so close! Every day there are advancements made in the treatment of, and the strive for a cure for this crap disease. The medicine I’m currently on, wasn’t available 2 years ago. Who’s to say a cure isn’t around the corner. It literally COULD happen tomorrow! So what I’m doing while I wait for my cure, is getting the word out that early detection is key. I’m participating in the Metastatic Breast cancer project in hopes that my tests, my samples can provide the answers needed to give cancer a swift and *lasting* kick to the groin. And I’m letting everyone know that I don’t have an expiration date tattoo’ed on my forehead. I will not give in. Everyone has or will be affected by cancer in some way in their lifetime. But with every talk we can give, every dollar we can raise, we are that much closer to a cure. And I believe we can make it happen!
I will continue to fight on to show others that mountains CAN be moved… Carrie Anderson