By Marlon Sumlin
Not one, but two cancer diagnoses
Nearly seven years ago, my wife, Lauri, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After meeting with the doctor and oncology staff at the Cleveland Clinic, we developed a plan of action. She endured two major surgeries and countless rounds of chemo. Two years ago, she was diagnosed, once again, with early stage breast cancer. Another surgery and radiation followed. Then, additional chemotherapy was required to treat the ovarian cancer, followed by a final round of radiation treatment a year ago. Since then, Lauri has had “no evidence of disease” and has been on medication that she takes daily, which thankfully seems to be working.
If only …
Lauri had a history of breast and ovarian cancer in her family, as it affected both her mother and grandmother, yet she did not have genetic testing prior to her own diagnosis. Looking back on it now, she wishes she had been proactive about getting tested, rather than having no choice but to be reactive once diagnosed with cancer. She is now a big proponent of genetic counseling and testing so that everyone has a better chance to lower cancer risk, as well as detecting it at an earlier, more treatable stage.
FORCE has been so helpful to us both
We would not be here without the support of FORCE and the resources they provide to previvors and survivors, as well as their caregivers. FORCE gave me the tools to be a better partner and support system for Lauri in her fight against cancer, as well as a resource to get answers to my questions.
Racing for FORCE
Lauri is back on track, both literally and figuratively. She is an advanced driver with NASA Great Lakes (National Auto Sport Association), driving our highly modified cars on various road courses throughout the Great Lakes region, from Illinois to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and places in between. We are happy to be racing for FORCE and raising funds for this organization that helped us both so much.
We cannot thank our FORCE family enough for their continued research in helping to save lives across the world, as well as supporting us in our efforts to “Spread Awareness One Track at a Time.”
Marlon Sumlin, Caregiver for Lauri, BRCA1 Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivor