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I Ride for Caryn Holly Girard Bench Spangler
(Dx 10/25/2018, IDC, Left, 4 cm, Stage II, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2+)
On 05/01/19, a week after surgery, Caryn was declared cancer free in her fight against IDC Breast Cancer. Due to advances in treatment and expert care, her prognosis for a total cure is good, very good, but the process remains brutal. Over a 22-week journey, she endured 6 cycles of chemotherapy, 3 hospitalizations, 2 toxic drug reactions, and 7 blood transfusions.
Caryn received her breast cancer diagnosis on 10/25/2018, but her fight with cancer started long before last Autumn. On 09/08/2001, Caryn’s husband, David Bench, lost his tragic fight with stomach cancer after a struggle all too brief. We lost Caryn’s mom, Holly Hjelkrem Girard, on 07/15/2016, after a courageous battle with an aggressive and rare form of ocular melanoma.
Caryn is brave, yet scared and haunted. She is powerful and stubborn, but chemotherapy is especially cruel to the strong-willed. Caryn is determined, still she is disappointed with the frequent setbacks that befall every cancer patient throughout treatment. Her heart has been focused faithfully in prayer and her thoughts fervently remain on her beautiful daughters. She is part of a small percentage of patients who develop allergic and toxic reactions to certain chemotherapy drugs, nevertheless her cancer was responsive to therapy. Her prognosis for a cure was always good, the journey, however, has been incredibly difficult. More progress, new cures, less side effects, and advances in treatment must be made.
I’m a true believer in the benefits of research. So much progress has been made in a relatively short period of time. Only a dozen years ago, Caryn’s aggressive type of tumor was a devastating diagnosis. Today, it is very curable.
Funding research to find cures is critical. Care during the cure and while healing is equally vital. The entire medical team from the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center at The James including her oncologist, Nicole, physician’s assistant, Nancy, and many others are compassionate, dedicated, expert, and worthy of your support. The care provided by the oncology nursing staff is simply beyond what I can express in words. Although she says isn't true, I’ve come to steadfastly believe that a wonderful nurse, Kate, saved my wife’s life one day.
Caryn is not alone. No one fights alone. I Hate Cancer. And I ride for One Goal.
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come on you like a thief, and scarcity like an armed man.” – Proverbs 24:33-34
“And if I catch it coming back my way, I’m gonna serve it to you….” – Seven Nation Army, The White Stripes