Newport resident Joseph Caruso died recently after a three-year battle with lung cancer. Caruso shocked and inspired those who watched him accept his disease with grace and successfully fight to prolong his life.
Through his own process of dying, Caruso challenged those around him to live.
Over the past three years, he continued to train and compete in elite athletic events, in spite of the exhausting and debilitating side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
To mentally break through exhaustion, back pain and nausea, Caruso told Patch that he focused on breathing in fresh air and out with the cancer cells.
“It’s about having a strong body and strong mind,” he said in an interview.
When it is often a struggle to get down the stairs, he said exercise might seem impossible, but the goal of competing in an event forced him to the gym.
Before his diagnoses, Caruso was an avid surfer and runner.
“Everytime I hear a wave crash .. the water glisten ..I know you [are] watching over us,” said Ali Dutra on his Facebook page.
Another friend, Jaccalen Grillo, wrote “Heaven's oceans are filled with much love today.”
Caruso first experienced pain three years ago and went to see a physical therapist for treatment.
“I was always exhausted, but I figured I had three kids, I was supposed to be exhausted,” he said.
Like many Americans with limited insurance, he was hesitant to jump into further tests until he was in so much pain that he could barely walk. At that point, his physical therapist said he needed to get an MRI.
Shortly after, Caruso received the call that changed his family’s life forever; the pain was caused by several tumors in his back, which were malignant. Even in stage-four terminal cancer, Caruso maintained positive, and was grateful for the additional time he had been given, not by the time he had lost.
Caruso urged people who have been diagnosed with cancer not to give up on life.
“Although it’s a scary journey, it’s not the end of the world,” he said.
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