Time for an update for “About me,” because although basically the same, we all change and morph and evolve every day, month, year, as we grow.
First and most importantly, I am a two-time cancer survivor who’s going for number three right now. I survived Stage II breast cancer in 2001. During the “in between,” I quit my job as a news anchor at WESH in Orlando and moved to the mountains of Park City, Utah, where I spend most of my time outdoors, skiing, running, hiking, riding bikes, and appreciating every day! I also completed 5 Ironman distance triathlons (including the Kona World Championship in 2012), dozens of half-Ironman distance races, and lots of shorter races of every kind. Crossing a finish line for any race (especially Ironman) is extra special for me as a cancer survivor. It’s one finish line, one more victory after cancer tried to kill me the first time.
In the fall of 2013, I was diagnosed with Thymic Carcinoma, a rare, aggressive cancer that is usually discovered in Stage IV, since there are no symptoms. But I get MRIs every year because of my breast cancer in 2001, and that’s how my TC was discovered in Stage II. I did radiation, chemo, and surgery. Then, a few weeks later, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with Livestrong and the Survivor Summit, raced one more Ironman (badly), and climbed Mt Fuji with my 75-year-old dad.
Then, in the fall of 2014, another MRI for the breast cancer, you guessed it, detected recurrence of the Thymic Carcinoma. After weeks of research and hard work by my amazing network of friends and former tv/news colleagues, I am in the clinical trials program at the National Cancer Institute. I’ve advocated for clinical trials much of my adult life and now it’s a clinical trial, and only a clinical trial, that will extend, if not save my life. I appreciate the circularity (?) of that. 🙂
So now, the life philosophy I adopted after Cancer Chapter I is in overdrive. I’ve now had a second and a third chance at living, with no indication on how long this third chance will last. More so than ever, my standard answer to an opportunity for adventure is “yes.” That’s taken me to Tanzania, Japan, South Korea, and Ireland just this year. It took me to Austin for my Livestrong 14th Ride for the Roses weekend and to Wilmington, North Carolina for my 3rd Beach to Battleship Ironman Triathlon where I advocated again for clinical trials and did my fastest (current-assisted) IM swim ever. It took me to Salt Lake City, where I volunteered at a Best Friends Animal Society Adoption Event that found homes for hundreds of dogs and cats (and almost got me a third cat, a giant orange tabby named Pumba. Emmitt Smith and Lucy (my shelter cats) are happy he found another home).
What I’m writing here is the story of my life. I have had and do have a pretty cool one. I hope you’ll agree. Livestrong.