WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)— A Wichita Falls native is using his story of living with cancer to inspire others and help change their outlook on life.
Justin and Katie Ozuna have been married since 2013 and they’ve been through the highs and lows together.
In 2007 Justin Ozuna was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia or CML, a rare type of blood cancer originating in the bone marrow.
He was in college at MSU Texas at the time.
His journey became their journey when Katie came into his life.
For Justin, being told he had CML at 24 years-old left many unanswered questions.
“To me, cancer meant uncertainty, I was already kind of living in a world of uncertainty and to add that burden, it was very difficult,” Justin Ozuna said.
Then Justin met Katie. They were long distance, but she was there for him when the medication stopped working and during the clinical trials.
She found her calling as an oncology social worker and navigator.
“I remember being in Houston, at MD Anderson and thinking ‘gosh when I get through this, when we get through this, I’m gonna do everything I can to just make someone else’s journey just a little better, big or small’,” Katie Ozuna said.
After five years, Justin got the news he was in molecular remission. Meaning under a microscope, there’s a trace of Leukemia in his blood.
Throughout the journey, he decided to blog.
“When I was diagnosed, social media didn’t really exist and so there wasn’t any connecting with anybody else with cml, your age around the age and now it’s like you can find anybody, anywhere,” Justin Ozuna said.
Others going through the same situation have found those blogs.
Now he and Katie work to guide them. Katie offers advice for caregivers.
“Take care of yourself before taking care of anyone else, it’s kind of like that airplane, the airbag on the airplanes, put it over your mouth and then over the mouth of the child,” Katie Ozuna said.
Justin addresses those faced with the same uncertain circumstance.
“Any negative experience like cancer, you really want to flip it inside out and allow it to empower you and pay it forward and take all of your negatives experiences, really experience them for what they are, then turn around after that experience and give to someone else and say we want to make your life a little easier,” Justin Ozuna said.
From uncertainty to finding the one who makes Justin sure the road ahead isn’t walked alone.
Justin visits his doctor every six months to ensure his health.