After fighting and surviving two breast cancer diagnoses, Framingham resident Karen Horowitz has spent the last nine years dedicating herself to advocating for patients levitra online cheap and survivors.
Horowitz faced her first diagnosis in 1998 when she was 45 and was diagnosed again five years later after a checkup.
“With all the drugs I’ve taken, I’ve had a whole host of side effects. I haven’t slept much in 14 years,” Horowitz said. “Then in 2003, I had a mastectomy, reconstruction and chemotherapy, the side effects of which threw me into menopause and the drugs gave me heart problems.”
While her battle certainly hasn’t been easy, Horowitz said she looks at her disease as a gift.
“In a sense, it made me face all of my fears,” Horowitz said. “I never flew, now I fly. I never talked in front of people, now I do. It opened me up to so many things, to meet news people and do things I never thought I’d do. It’s given me a very fulfilling life.”
Horowitz noted that the fear of the disease never really goes away and said she gets checked twice a year with mammograms and MRIs.
“There’s only one word that can scare me now, but even that, I look at it as: I’ve done this twice and I could do it again if I had to,” Horowitz said.
Horowitz now works only part-time and spends most of her time volunteering to work on political advocacy groups. She is a member of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, is on the Board of the New England Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and is active in the Massachusetts Survivorship Work Group.
“We’re doing a cancer votes project, getting politicians to give their position on cancer-related issues and get them on the record,” Horowitz said. “We’re doing a lot of advocacy work on the oral parity bill that would require insurance companies to pay for oral chemotherapy drugs.”
Horowitz also works as a review for the Department of Defense’s breast cancer research program, reviewing scientific proposals and considering funding for doctors looking for new treatments, detection efforts and cures.
“If I can do one thing to make it better for someone else, who maybe will get diagnosed earlier or won’t get diagnosed at all because of what I do, then it’s worth it,” Horowitz said.
Horowitz said she has become particularly outspoken about the issues that cancer survivors are facing.
“There is so much talk about finding a cure and new treatments,” Horowitz said, “and while that’s wonderful and I wouldn’t be alive today without them, on the other hand we have to start looking at the 11 to 12 million survivors in this country. What do we do afterward?”
While she’s busy tackling survivorship issues, she did want to pass along some advice to those women currently fighting the disease.
“The best advice I can give is to focus on yourself,” Horowitz said. “It can’t be about your partner, your children or anybody but you. You have to be selfish.”
Lindsay Corcoran can be reached at (508) 626-4338 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1890058776/Framingham-survivor-turns-advocate#ixzz29QFeido8