“Faith, family, friends and fun.” These are the “four Fs” that have kept Elise Roth Tedeschi pushing and fighting, even during the most challenging of times.
In 2012, the Smyrna, Georgia, wife and mom was informed that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. With an estimate of only 9 months to live, Tedeschi knew she had to battle.
“I felt that, no matter what, I was gonna beat it,” Tedeschi told Inside Edition. “I didn’t care what the doctors said.”
It’s thanks to this now-50-year-old’s will to live and a targeted genetic treatment that she’s still alive today. She said that back and stomach pains were just two of the warning signs she ignored.
“There were studies that showed that the chemotherapy was more effective, the fact that I had this gene,” she shared with WSB-TV Atlanta.
“So what gave me this cancer actually had the ability to take it away,” she went on. “I think that you have to find the doctor willing to fight for you.”
“Even in the midst of getting down to 89 pounds and getting really sick, there were times I still woke up incredibly joyful,” she said. “I remember telling my dad, ‘I’m so thankful for going through this.’ He thought I was crazy for saying that, but I felt as, though for me, faith was a huge piece of it.”
Now, Tedeschi is surviving against the odds as a survivor and volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
According to PanCAN.org, Tedeschi discovered support and empathy through PanCAN’s Survivor & Caregiver Network.
“Our stories are so important,” Tedeschi told PanCAN.org. “They give hope.” Her hope and story are just two things she’s using to pay it forward when it comes to encouraging others with this life-threatening disease.
Last week, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek revealed on set that he’s suffering from the very same cancer Tedeschi was diagnosed with.
Even so, Trebek was in good spirits, saying, “Under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy’ for 3 more years. So, help me! Keep the faith. And we’ll win.”
Tedeschi loves that. She wrote an open letter on The Daily Meal to Trebek to give him hope for the future, sharing her experience and telling him to “go kick cancer’s butt — it has no chance against you! You got this!”
“I had no idea what would lie ahead,” she wrote of her diagnosis. “I had no idea that I would end up feeling that this was a gift in a strange package. I had no idea that this would be a journey of love, hope and faith.”
“You may wonder how I stayed positive,” she continued. “My answer was always the same: ‘I didn’t choose to get cancer and I didn’t choose to go through this, but I do get to choose my attitude. So I choose to be happy and live my life!’”
What an amazing story of faith and hope. If Alex Trebek reads this letter, we have to wonder if he’ll tear up like we did. Wow!