I am participating in the 2021 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk: Your Way presented by Hyundai, taking steps toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer!
As many of you know, my sister Alicia was first diagnosed in March of 2018 with DCIS which then became invasive. After a lumpectomy, it was staged 1B (ER+ , PR-, HER2+), and after two surgeries and lymph node removal she completed chemotherapy, radiation, she began hormone therapy and a year of adjuvant chemo (Herceptin). She completed her last infusion in July of 2019. Five months later, she was overcome with pain in her ribs. She attributed this to a pulled muscle, but after weeks of discomfort, she went to urgent care. The doctors there saw masses on the ultrasounds in her liver and lungs, and sent her to the ER for a catscan. I raced into Boston, and after talking to her oncologist (after midnight), they decided to admit Alicia for a biopsy. The biopsy showed that cancer had metastasized in her liver and lungs, and she began chemo again.
I was her primary caregiver and watched her battle against cancer. Alicia was an extremely strong person. It's very difficult for anyone to battle cancer and deal with the horrendous side effects of chemo. However, there aren't many people that could do it all alone during a pandemic while working full time. The isolation, lack of physical help and the comfort of having someone in close proximity would destroy most people. The bravery Alicia showed during her long battle with cancer is admirable and a tribute to her character as a person. I am grateful for the research that has allowed her to have the treatments she had during her battle.
Unfortunately, Ali lost her gallant battle against cancer on May 22, 2021. This year, I walk in her memory and to raise money for new treatments to be developed.