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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."

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