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 has been undergoing chemo ever since. She is currently on her 6th type of chemo.
I have been her primary caregiver and have watched her gallant battle against cancer. Alicia is an extremely strong person. It's extremely 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 has shown 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 has had so far and to raise money for new treatments to be developed.