On April 20, 2020, I will be running the Boston Marathon for Dana Farber. Two things I never thought I would say in my life - I’m running the marathon at 42 years old, and that I’m a widow with 2 small children whose lives have been touched by Dana Farber.
During my husband's surgery for what was thought to be an inflamed colon, I was called into a little room where my life was altered forever. My husband, Sam, was diagnosed suddenly and unexpectedly with stage 4 inoperable, incurable colon cancer at the age of 45. I remember telling the surgeon that I was 39 years old and had children - like that would somehow change the outcome of what he was telling me. It did not. Things moved quickly after that. I was making decisions about experimental surgery and chemotherapy. It was surreal. I don’t know if it was disbelief or a need to control and fix everything that kicked in, but there was no way I could lose my best friend and the love of my life. I remember telling my husband not to worry, that I would claw our way out of this. I contacted doctors, surgeons, clinics and holistic healers all over the world. I found every clinical trial, and every conventional and non-conventional option there was. I had a vegan chef, medicinal herbs from the Middle East, vitamin IV’s and oxygen therapy. I was determined to win. Eventually, we started chemo on Valentine’s Day of 2017. I can’t describe the feeling of walking into Dana Farber that first day. I thought it was a nightmare-but I couldn’t wake up. It was as if someone punched me and I couldn’t breathe. I was terrified, but I never wanted my husband to know. At our first treatment, as my eyes welled up with tears, our nurse took our hands and said, “Don’t worry, we will get through this together”. Whether she was lying to us or not, it was what we both needed to hear. The care that we received at Dana Farber was more than just medicine, it was personal. Our nurses and doctors became our friends. Many of which I still speak to today, and some that I just can't because it hurts. We spent hours with them during treatment several days a week for 8 months. They answered my endless emails, phone calls, and texts. They endured the wrath of a stubborn wife who was never willing to give up. I’m forever grateful for their kindness and compassion during what was the most awful and terrifying time in my life. While there was no cure or happy ending for me, I believe that with our support, Dana Farber can and will continue to do amazing things…so no one will have to hear “your husband is going to die” - to help end cancer forever.
I hope my husband would be proud of how I have taken care of our kids and survived without him (something I never imagined). Anyone who knew Sam would know that he would expect nothing less from me. He would also think I was crazy for voluntarily running a 26.2 mile marathon-especially during school vacation week when we would more likely choose to be on a beach in the Caribbean. Yes, anyone that knows me knows how much I hate the cold, and that training in the cold weather is my worst nightmare! But, I want my kids to see that their mom is strong, that she can survive tragedy, and that she can do anything (except 6th grade math!).
I will hear my husband’s voice every step of those 26.2 miles, saying, “If you are going to do this, Kori-you better kill it.”
And I will.............