Roselle woman volunteers with Relay For Life 'in hope of a world without cancer'

  • Mike and Carol Kurczak of Roselle. In 2017, Carol was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

    Mike and Carol Kurczak of Roselle. In 2017, Carol was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Courtesy of Carol Kurczak

 
By Carol Kurczak
Relay For Life Volunteer
Updated 6/7/2020 7:30 AM

I became involved with Relay For Life five years ago when a friend was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer. It was serious.

Some of her friends were already participating in the local Relay For Life and decided to form a team in her honor. That year our team raised more than $2,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society in her name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since then, I have volunteered to work in the Survivor Tent at Relay for two years and I help with PR. The Survivor Tent provides each survivor and their caretaker a free dinner donated by local restaurants. It is a highlight of Relay that we cannot do at this time.

In 2017, I was 64 years old, long past menopause. For a few years I had occasional, seldom light spotting, the key symptom of uterine cancer.

Cathy, left, Mike, Carol and Michelle Kurczak of Roselle. Carol says she does the Relay For Life for those who can't be here any longer and for survivors like herself.
Cathy, left, Mike, Carol and Michelle Kurczak of Roselle. Carol says she does the Relay For Life for those who can't be here any longer and for survivors like herself. - Courtesy of Carol Kurczak

I saw my gynecologist annually and also when the spotting worried me. I had an ultrasound and he determined that I had fibroid masses within the wall of my uterus, the fibroids must be causing some bleeding.

I had two hysteroscopies, I think he tried to remove some of the fibroid. In June 2017 I had a major gush of liquid, the gynecologist did a third hysteroscopy and finally a biopsy. Three days later he called with the results -- the tissue was malignant. I had cancer. I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, stage 1a, grade 1 adenocarcinoma, minimal invasion of the cancer cells into the wall of the uterus.

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I was referred to a gynecological oncologist. My husband and daughter came for the appointment. My daughter sat there like a court reporter taking notes of everything that was said.

I had a hysterectomy with no further treatment. The American Cancer Society website provided me with much information about cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Within one year it metastasized with a vengeance around my abdomen. It was not easy. I was hospitalized four times, made five trips to the ER and was terribly sick. I had two more surgeries. My husband was my caretaker. Words cannot express how well he took care of me. It was pure love in action.

Mike and Carol Kurczak of Roselle.
Mike and Carol Kurczak of Roselle. - Courtesy of Carol Kurczak
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

It took five months until treatment was complete and I was back on the road to my new happy and healthy normal.

I Relay for those who cannot be here, for those no longer with us, whose cancer took their lives. Their memories will remain with us forever. I Relay for me and for all the other survivors, grateful for our recoveries and thankful that promising treatments are available.

I Relay for the future and the hope of a world without cancer.

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