Person 2 Person: Carolyn's Battle
MARION, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Being diagnosed with cancer is something no one can ever be prepared for.
More than one million Americans are estimated to be diagnosed this year alone. Each day 47 people in Iowa hear the words "you have cancer."
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Eastern Iowa is always ready to roll out the pink lights in support. Mercy Medical Center has played host to the Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer for 25 years. The mission is to raise breast cancer awareness and help to make essential breast cancer screenings and treatment more affordable.
The five-year relative survival rate for many common cancers is greater than 90% if found before the cancer has metastasized.
"Well, I first found out I had breast cancer through a self-exam and I knew immediately something was not right," says Carolyn Wettstone, author and former news anchor. Wettstone has told countless stories of others over the years and is now taking the time to tell hers.
"I have to say I never thought I would have breast cancer because I'm a very healthy person. We don't have any cancer in our family so that was a shock, a big shock. The first things that went through my mind immediately were first my own mortality and my daughter. She's 11 years old and the last thing I want is for my daughter to grow up without a mom."
Tough times call for support and Carolyn is receiving an outpouring from friends, family and fans including viewers of her husbands' nightly newscasts here on CBS2 and FOX28.
"Well obviously any time that there's a lump in a breast it brings a little bit of fear to you," says her husband, and CBS 2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails, "Then the reality comes that alright, we're going to have to wait and this could legitimately be something. And of all the experiences we've had with this, that was the hardest period."
So often times many women will chose to keep quiet on the issue, afraid to talk about it or let others in. That's not the case for Carolyn. She's going very public; blogging almost daily.
"Share your story, let somebody know, don't try to do this by yourself," she says. "Because the outpouring is enormous and is gratifying and it lifts you up it's okay to let them know that you understand that you're scared. And sometimes it's okay to be scared."
Carolyn went in for a double mastectomy on Friday morning. You can follow Carolyn's progress as well as updates at www.tswails.com or on Terry's Facebook page.
All of our thoughts and prayers from our family here at Broadcast Park go out to Terry, Carolyn, and their daughter Eden.