FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – It’s the simple things that mean the most. Picking ripe fruit off a front yard tree. Time with loved ones. Living life.
Liz Harrison of Fresno doesn’t take any of it for granted.
“These days I don’t think about dying, I think about living,” said Liz.
Backtrack to early 2012 when dying was the furthest thing from her mind. On top of her game at ABC-30 in Fresno, until a discovery in July of that year privately at home.
“Well, my husband actually noticed there was a change in the look of my breast, and he goes, ‘You better go get that checked,’ and I said, ‘Oh, I’m just getting old. I’m sure that’s what it is,'” Liz said.
A mammogram, her first in four years, came back normal. There was no palpable lump, but an ultrasound confirmed what doctors suspected: Lobular Breast Cancer.
“And immediately it’s just like this, I’m a hamster on my little wheel,” she said.
Liz was assigned a breast surgeon, and an oncologist and had a double mastectomy. Her personal battle with cancer played out in public.
“The traumatic part for me was when I started chemo treatments and I lost my hair,” said Liz.
A wig covered the hair loss at work until her natural hair began to grow back in. Liz says she fought her way through the depression and sickness and passed the five-year breast cancer survival mark. She was routinely monitored, and all was well for over eight years until January 2020.
“And I got a call from the oncologist right in the middle of the newscast and I texted him and said I can’t take your call right now. and he said call me as soon as you get off the air,” Liz remembered.
Testing eventually confirmed the same cancer that had initially hidden from her mammogram was back, now in her stomach. It had metastasized– spread. Liz was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast cancer, a stage four cancer that nearly 30 percent of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer develop, according to breastcancer.org. There are only treatments to prolong life, but no cure.
Liz and her husband Keith Allen posted a video on her Instagram page to explain her condition. Medication which she says is hard on her body, keeps her stable– now two years into that frightening diagnosis. She’s retired and feels it’s important to talk about living with terminal cancer.
“If you do have stage four metastatic breast cancer know too that there are so many treatments out there that can treat it and you can live a long and productive life,” she said.
Liz Harrison taking the time to enjoy her life. She says she’s at peace with her mortality because it’s now in god’s hands.
“None of us knows when we’re going to die, none of us does. But I probably will die before you because of my diagnosis and I’m okay with that,” Liz said.