Lisa Lambert had it all.
The Westporter was a successful securities lawyer, about to start a new job. She was dating a great guy.
A former All-American cheerleader, she worked out every day. She ate organic food. She felt great.
But a few weeks ago while driving, she did not know how to make a left turn. She called her father and brother, both doctors. They told her to head to the emergency room.
The diagnosis hit like a thunderbolt: glioblastoma. That’s the brain cancer that killed Ted Kennedy and John McCain.
Lisa was ready for a fight. Her Intensity trainer, Herman Walker, had — without knowing it — prepared her physically for her battle. He was also the one who first noticed something was amiss, when she faltered during the workouts she’d always finished.
Treatment is brutal. Part of it involves a claustrophobic mask, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. There’s also chemo and radiation.
Lisa’s many friends support her. Hyleri Katzenberg says, “Her soul is so beautiful. She has made a great mark on Westport. It’s an honor to take her to treatment, make her meals — whatever we can do.”
Despite her pain and fears — and short-term memory loss, and blindness in one eye — Lisa is still Lisa, Hyleri says.
She is the mother of 2 sons. “When one of them walks in the room, she pulls it together. ‘Did you do your homework?’ she asks. She has so much grace through it all.”
Lisa’s boys have “risen to the occasion,” says Hyleri. “They’ve rallied around their mother. She has raised 2 very good souls.”
Her spirit does not flag. “When she walks in the radiation room, Lisa makes friends with everyone,” Hyleri says. “She gets everyone laughing.”
Two weeks ago, Hyleri notes, Lisa could barely get out of bed. She had trouble breathing.
Since then, she’s rallied. Her friends took her to a manicure, and out to dinner. Jim brought her to a concert in Ridgefield.
Hyleri, Lisa and friend Suzanne Shapiro are all brunettes. Lisa is concerned about losing her hair. “She could not look bad no matter what,” Hyleri says.
“She has an army of people fighting with her. She is such a soldier.’
She is also inspirational. In the midst of her fight, Lisa wants others to be aware of how life can change in a moment. She hopes to raise awareness of glioblastoma, and the importance of early detection.
“Her focus is on learning to live with cancer, not dying from it,” explains Hyleri.
“She is trying to do both for herself, and to help others who have been thrust into this new reality. It’s a struggle and challenge every day to live life fully, and not let cancer win by robbing her of her day to day living.”
Lisa’s memory loss is one of her major concerns. “She’s afraid she’ll forget all her good friends, and forget her love for this town,” Hyleri reports. “But she is grateful that all she’s given to others is coming back to her.
“She is a beautiful person, inside and out.”