Time is precious for West Salem woman - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Time is precious for West Salem woman

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WEST SALEM, WI (WXOW) - Many of us are always on the go.

That was the case for Erica Schultz, as self-proclaimed work-a-holic who never had enough time.

Until one day, Erica's world as she described it, stopped.

When dinner is done in the Schultz house the hustle and bustle of life stops, for at least an hour.

Missing a family dinner is not an option for this West Salem family, at least not anymore.

Erica used to be the biggest offender.

The 30 year-old working mom rarely made it to the dinner table, until a nagging cough slowed her down.

"I couldn't breath. I'd lay down at night and I couldn't breath", Erica said.

When antibiotics didn't work, Erica's husband Dan insisted that she get a chest x-ray.

Something Erica had turned down two weeks earlier because she didn't have "time".

"November 14, 2008. It's a date I will never forget. It's the day everything stopped" explained Erica.

This time it was the x-ray that took Erica's breath away.

Growing inside her lung, cutting off her airway, was a huge mass.

"The doctor came in and had tears in his eyes and said 'I'm sorry you're 26 and you have cancer' and those words will never go away".

Erica had stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"It changed everything. You're scared. You're scared of what this might lead to", said Dan.

Chemotherapy began the very next week.

The nausea, exhaustion, and hair loss soon followed.

Erica did her best to stay positive. She went to work everyday.

But, 3 months into her treatment Erica had to be hospitalized.

Exhausted and in terrible pain, she was ready to give up.

"I thought what am I doing? This isn't helping me this is killing me. I didn't feel like I had any hope left. I left like I was, like I was done."

Erica says faith got her through that night and through 4 more month of grueling chemo and radiation.

The chemo that saved her life also made her feet permanently numb.

She can't move quite as fast as she once did.

Cancer changed Erica, her life isn't so busy anymore. She understands time is precious.

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