Join Liz and Team LIVESTRONG at the LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly, August 17-18, 2013. Whether you run, ride or tri in 2013, just do it with Team LIVESTRONG. Visit www.teamlivestrong.org for more information.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Liz Dohls and I am from West Chester, Pennsylvania.
How have you been affected by cancer?
I am a six-and-half year survivor of lung cancer. I was diagnosed at 26 and it was the last thing I ever expected. I have made a handful of friends who are also survivors and we share the ups and downs, along with our family and friends.
This is my seventh LIVESTRONG Challenge. This year I’m planning on participating in the 10K run/walk and the intermediate bike ride here in Philly. I have done the 5K in the past, as well as bike rides ranging from 40 miles to 100. I even traveled to Austin to participate one year. The Hill Country is beautiful!
Why did you join Team LIVESTRONG?
When I was first diagnosed LIVESTRONG was the only group I knew to turn to for support, because I knew I could find stories from other survivors to help me through the tough days. I’ve also always been an athlete and I didn’t want to give that up just because of cancer. The LIVESTRONG manifesto says it all—it is part of who I am, but it does not define me. I am surviving and living life with cancer, and I will be able to have grace at the end if it comes to that.
I have taken part in some workshops that have been held here in the Philly area and talked with other patients about LIVESTRONG resources. I used the LIVESTRONG Guidebook during my first go-round with chemo and radiation and surgery and it really helped me get organized and taught me important questions to ask and what I needed to be keeping track of. I am glad to share these resources with others in their fight against cancer.
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
It means never walking a single hill. A cycling reference, but one I live each day. I ride up all the hills, no matter how tough (and they can be tough, literally, since I am missing 2/3 my right lung) and no matter how long it takes me. I won’t get off my bike. Because I know when I get to the top there will be a chance for a break, to sit up and look around. My family and friends will put a reassuring hand on my back and keep me going, but I have to do the hard work myself. So far this year has been one big hill, with a brain met, three surgeries, and radiation. But I remind myself, keep going, one pedal stroke at a time.
Share one piece of advice you would give to someone affected by cancer.
Use your medical team for all they’re worth. If there is a nutritionist on staff, see them. If there is yoga or reiki, do it. If your doctor says you can call or email, when you have a question, do it. If the chemo nurse offers a homemade cookie, take it! There are so many ways they can help and it is best to take advantage of it.