Couple pays it forward by running Lahey Cancer 5K
The honeymoon phase didn’t last long for Joe and Nicole Caiazzo. Only nine months into their marriage, Joe was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer that had metastasized to his liver. He credits the care he received at the Lahey Cancer Institute with saving his life. And now, Joe and Nicole are rallying their family and friends to join them in raising money and running the Lahey Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run.
Stomach pains sent Joe to Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, a short drive from his home in Melrose. He thought he had an ulcer. At age 32, the thought it could be cancer never crossed his mind.
The diagnosis last summer terrified both Joe and Nicole. “This is the love of my life,” Nicole said, choking up. “I can’t lose this person.”
Joe’s physician recommended two rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove part of his liver. Luckily, the cancer responded to the chemo, and it had only spread to a very small part of the liver. Joe was hospitalized for a week to recover. In that time, his physician and the nursing staff were quick to respond to every question and call for help. “They were unbelievable,” he recalled.
After surgery, Joe still had to go through another round of chemotherapy to ensure the cancer didn’t come back. He finished that in May and took the last of his cancer medication earlier this month.
“We’re both faith-filled people,” Nicole said. “Not just faith in a higher being, but also faith in the doctors and the care that you’re receiving. I think for me personally, that’s what helped me keep on. I knew this was going to work out.”
Now that Joe is cancer-free, he and Nicole have called on their loved ones to join their team for the Lahey Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run and raise money to help other patients with cancer.
Joe’s sister came up with the team name, #2Mean4Cancer. “Joe is a very straightforward person,” Nicole explained with a laugh. “He’s a fighter and doesn’t take no for an answer. And even cancer can’t beat him.”