Healthcare Tips

Finding Optimism Through a Five-Year Cancer Journey

June 29, 2021

As the second of eight close-knit siblings, family is everything for Callie Weber. “Family is key,” she said. “It made us who we are. We just always stuck together through everything.”

These days, Callie is busy working full-time managing payroll and accounts receivables at an HVAC accessories company in Indianapolis called MicroMetl—and raising two young boys of her own. 

“You never think kids have as much energy as they do,” Callie said. “It’s 8:30 at night, and I just want to go to bed and they’re running circles, literally, around the house. I wish I could bottle up their energy and inject myself with it daily, because it would help me out.”

For the last five years, Callie has been on a journey. In late 2015 when she was four months pregnant with her second son Carson, Callie noticed some bumps near her neck. She admits she’s always been someone to ignore symptoms and assume they’ll go away, but her family urged her to get the bumps examined. She did, and she was diagnosed with cancer in her lymph nodes. She started treatment 10 days after Carson was born in May 2016.

“I went through chemo for six months,” Callie said. “Those drugs are vicious. I lost my hair, which sucked, but I didn’t really have a lot of horrible side effects. I tolerated it fairly well, and I was able to go to work through all of the treatment.”

Continuing the Fight

Callie said she finished her first round of treatment and everything was going great. Three months later, she noticed something wasn’t feeling right. The cancer was back. “I did another month of chemo, and then they put me on an immunotherapy drug for about a year,” Callie said.

Three months after she stopped taking her immunotherapy drug, Callie’s cancer came back again. 

“So I did some radiation and I started another immunotherapy drug in January 2019 that I’m still on,” she said. “The side effects are fairly nonexistent. Life is pretty much normal. I like that. I still have to go every month. It’s kind of frustrating, but I’m living. I’m here, and I’m grateful for that.”

Through her rollercoaster ride of cancer remission and recurrence, Callie said one constant source of support has been her nurse Anna, who has been by her side since her first day at the Sue Ann Wortman Cancer Center

Forging Friendship through Treatment

“Anna is hands down the nicest, most genuine, sincere person,” Callie said. “I would honestly love to go on monthly dinner dates with her when my treatment is over, because she’s a hoot and just the absolute best. No one wants to go to the doctor to have infusions. But going there and having an hour of time chit-chatting with Anna, before you know it it’s over. Just having the time to talk with her makes things better.”

Callie isn’t sure what her future holds, but she remains optimistic. 

“You’re not guaranteed tomorrow,” Callie said. “This diagnosis made me go about each day a little bit differently. I don’t know if there’s going to be another cancer diagnosis. You don’t know. You’re still going to have crap days, and your husband and kids are still going to annoy the mess out of you. But I try to go to bed every night in good spirits feeling that I lived the day well. I really try to do that.”

Throughout June, we’re celebrating cancer survivors for National Cancer Survivor Month, and survivorship begins with diagnosis. Callie is a survivor. Join us in celebrating Callie and everyone on the journey to defeating cancer.