Women Cancer Survivors Take Charge
A new generation of women shake up what it means to have cancer.
Crazy, Sexy Survivors continued...
Carr's search for a cure also involved a foray into the sometimes wacky
world of complementary medicine.
"If Western medicine doesn't have answers or answers that you like, look
elsewhere," she says. "Complementary medicine can give a patient a
really empowering feeling," she says.
"Cancer is bigger than a cell count or a tumor," she says.
"There won’t be a cure without both members of the team playing together,”
Carr says of the marriage between Western medicine and complementary medicine,
which includes everything from herbs and yoga to acupuncture and diet.
She also learned that it can be challenging to prove to others that you are
OK, she says. "I still get people that say, 'Bless you dear heart, keep up
the fight' when I come out and do book signings," she says. "It's never
a patient who makes me feel terminal. I often think, 'Did you just miss the
whole point? I am more alive than you are.'”
But Carr is not totally fearless. "I learned to manage fear and not
allow it to take me down," she says. "If I get scared, it usually means
that I am out of balance in another area," Carr says. "Is a cough just
a cough? You can become so debilitated and fall into hypochondria, and when I
get to those places I know it’s time to do something as simple as go for a walk
and change the environment."
So far, so good. "I feel fantastic and am about to go for a run in the
mountains," she says. In the course of making the documentary, Carr met and
married her husband, who served as the editor and producer on the film.
"The film ends with me living with cancer and getting married and planning
for the future," she says. And that's not all. "I am writing another
book and raising money for the Crazy Sexy Scholarship Fund, which provides
money for alternative medicine.
"Cancer is a catalyst, and if you let it, it can bring some amazing
things into your life," says Carr. "Cancer tells you it’s time to live,
not time to die."
Crazy, Sexy Cancer Survivor: Roberta Levy Schwartz
Houston-based Roberta Levy Schwartz, a founder of the Young Survival
Coalition, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. Now, 10 years later, she
remains cancer-free and is the mother of three children.
A lot has changed on her watch.
"When I was in the waiting room when first diagnosed, people always
thought it was my mother who had cancer, not me," she recalls. "The
staff would usher me back quickly, because it freaked people out to have a
20-year-old in the waiting room. And now, just about everyone knows a young
person with cancer."