Six battles with cancer later, Colorado woman goes 'Over the Edge'

Posted at 5:42 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 19:42:55-05

DENVER -- Cancer can change a lot, but can it take away fear?

Sometimes it feels like obstacles are put in our life just to see if we can get over them -- like standing on the edge of a tall building with only a single rope to climb your way down. But we'll get back to that. 

Inside Terri Kulbe's house in southwest Denver on any given night, you wouldn't think there would be many obstacles -- unless you're talking about not burning the cookies she's baking. 

But if you listen closer, there are plenty of challenges around this kitchen table. 

"When I first discovered that I had a lump, I pretty much knew -- this is probably not good," Kulbe explained. "Stage four breast cancer. Spreading pretty quickly."

To her liver. And her neck. She had a double mastectomy, but the surgeon found even more cancer in her chest. 

"There's been days I've said, 'Crap! I don't want to die from this,'" she said.

Nearly two years of chemotherapy and radiation later, she thought she had finally beaten cancer. But her last scan, taken a few months ago, showed cancer had again reared its head.

You'd think five going on six bouts with cancer was enough of a challenge. But cancer has a way of changing things, even things one might be scared of. 

"If somebody asks me to do something weird like crawl down the side of a building, I'm probably going to do it," Kulbe joked.

That brings us back to that building -- the top of a downtown Denver high-rise. Thirty-two stories up in the air. 

This is the "Over the Edge" fundraiser for the Cancer League of Colorado.

Kulbe spent months fundraising with her family. Her reward? The chance to rappel straight down the side of the building. 

"Oh God," she said, looking over the edge.

After training and getting into position, she was just about ready to go.

"I can't do this; there's no way," she said. "I felt like I don't want to go down the side of this building. Let's just go fight cancer over here because that'll be easier."

But after her fight against cancer, she decided to fight back against her fear. 

"I thought, 'No you need to do this.' And that's kind of what I've been doing since my diagnosis is just facing it," she said.

So that's what she did. Slowly. Inch by inch -- going over the edge. 

"Going over that edge was the epitome of facing my fears. So I can easily compare what I'm going through to that and just face it," Kulbe said.

And 15 minutes later, set to cheers by her entire extended family, she put her feet back on the ground. 

"You do something you don't think you can do, it kind of gives you that boost you need to get through something else I suppose," Kulbe said from her living room. 

Over the edge. Over fear. And hopefully over cancer -- to get back to more family dinners around that kitchen table, with cookies baked just right.


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