Since May, I've been training for VeloSano, Cleveland Clinic’s annual Bike to Cure event. All the fundraising efforts benefit cancer research and prevention. This event is personal. I was diagnosed 20 years ago with triple negative breast cancer when I was 32 weeks pregnant.
My very first VeloSano ride was after I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer and had my thyroid removed 02/2019. That was VeloSano 6 and I've ridden ever since to help bring awareness and 1OO% for a cure for cancer.
This cause is very personal for me because my future depends on innovative research and new treatments for blood cancers. In January 2020, on the eve of the global pandemic, I was diagnosed with stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
In September 2013, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I was working at Cleveland Clinic main campus in the Education Institute. Even though I had been employed at the Clinic for almost 40 years at the time, I was fortunate enough to have reasonably good health and had not had to rely on the Clinic for any major issues. Well, my new diagnosis changed everything.
I started riding in VeloSano as a way to help with recovery from open heart surgery due to a bicuspid aortic valve that was fixed at the Cleveland Clinic in 2009. The riding was good for me and helped me give back to the Clinic. In 2020, my PSA came back as 7.1. Had initial consult with a urologist.
It’s almost serendipitous that I received my cancer diagnosis while out on a bike ride in the Cuyahoga valley. My phone rang and it was our insurance agent saying ild failed a physical and should get in touch with my family doctor ASAP.
Why Cancer Can Kiss My A**
I was in prime form to take on such a battle; I was 27, young, strong and healthy, had a top notch medical team who would stop at nothing to ensure my best chance, was surrounded by a gigantic love and support system spread across the country and had a special angel who stuck by my side every step of the way. I knew exactly what I was fighting for.
After dedicating 17 years to the cancer registry industry and CHAMPS Oncology, I thought my passion for this profession was pretty strong, until January 2019 when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Ovarian Cancer. Suddenly the work our cancer registrars have done for more than 40 years meant even more to me.
In July of 2016, my life was, in a word, awesome. My husband and I had married 3 months earlier after 10 years together, I just turned 38, and we were looking forward to starting a family together. I had a job I loved, was surrounded by people I love, and I was almost done with all those thank you cards. After an Indians game, I noticed that I had gotten some sun, and when I pulled my shirt away to see how much while looking in the mirror, I saw my left breast ripple. At that moment, my life changed forever, and was a lot less awesome for quite a while.
On August 25, 2018, after a week of struggling with a open sore on my foot from what we thought was an insect bite, my primary care physician told me to admit myself to Fairview Hospital. It was there in the Emergency Room that my wife Bridget and I first heard the word LEUKEMIA from an oncologist and the ER Doctor.
In September of 2015, Owen Timura noticed a lump in his lower abdomen. This lump was thought to be an infection and he was treated for several weeks with antibiotics. This stubborn lump refused to go away so it was suggested that he have surgery to just simply drain it. On November 13, 2015, Owen went in for surgery but unfortunately this healthy and active 8 year old boy was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma.
My cancer journey began in November 2016 with a random, unrelated pain. I saw a new doctor who noticed an odd test result from the year before, when I was pregnant with my daughter. After further testing I was diagnosed with Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma, a very rare vascular sarcoma that has presented itself in my liver.