Cancer survivor focused on saving others

Long is starting career as paramedic

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Carey Long survived cancer and now she spends every day saving lives -- a welcome challenge after nearly losing her own life.

"I think I have a different way of looking at things because I had to make amends with the fact that I might die at such a young age," Long said.

Long was in her 20s when she was diagnosed with cancer at what was supposed to be a routine exam after she gave birth to her son.

"At my two-week checkup, you could feel a lump on my side," Long said.

The checkup led to a computerized tomography (CT) scan and the diagnosis of liver cancer.

"You hear cancer and you associate it with imminent or immediate death," she said.

The five-year survival rate for liver cancer is only 18%, but Long did not let that number scare her.

"There's a lot of things that go through my head. But really it's, like, well, let's do something. I have so many reasons to live and fight," she said.

The disease took her gallbladder, uterus, appendix and parts of her small and large intestines. But now, after a five year battle, she is in her 40s and cancer free.

Long is starting her career as a paramedic. 

"I think, as long as you're tough, you can do this job. That's really all it takes, and persevering and doing what you gotta do to get it done, which she did," Claire Borderlon, Long's co-worker, said.

The side effects from her cancer treatments include arthritis and osteoporosis but Long feels lucky to be doing what she loves to do and to be alive.

"If it makes you happy, that's great. And if you can help others and be fulfilled at the same time, you really can't ask for any better," Long said.

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