Health Team

Cancer patient to participate in first Komen race

Posted June 10, 2015
Updated June 11, 2015

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— Tamara Nuckols has been fighting breast cancer since she was diagnosed in 2006, when she was 36 years old.

"I did a bilateral mastectomy and I did chemo and radiation," she said. "And then five years out, almost to the day - it was like five years and one week - and I slurred a sentence."

Nuckols said she knew slurred speech could be a sign of stroke, but more likely she knew her cancer had spread to her brain.

"They call it the brain, the bones, the liver and the lungs," she said. "Those are usually the four places that the breast cancer can spread to."

Once the diagnosis was confirmed, Nuckols began the first of many drives from her home in Lynchburg, Va., to Duke University Hospital.

Surgeons removed her tumor, and physicians developed a strategy to manage her disease.

"I have chemo every single night at home," she said. "I take three pills at night and I come to Duke every three weeks to get an intravenous infusion drug."

Nuckols said she will continue to take the infusion drug for the rest of her life, unless doctors can find a better treatment.

"I'm now 45 years old. I have a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old. I'm married and trying to live a normal life," she said.

The drugs have side effects, including fatigue and nausea.

On Saturday, Nuckols will participate in her first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Raleigh.

"You see those in their little tags - in honor of, or in memory of - and I feel like I am very blessed because there are some that went through clinical trials, and because of them, I have gotten to where I am at today," she said. "I am very grateful for those people."

Those interested in participating in Saturday's event can learn more by visiting the Susan G. Komen website.


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