Excerpts from the Herald-News.com:

Krissi Carroll, wife of Shawn Carroll, a 16-year lieutenant paramedic with the Joliet Fire Department, said a routine chest X-ray showed Shawn’s cancer had returned.

In 2012, Shawn was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a rare cancer of fat tissue, but he went in remission three and a half years ago and continued to receive regular checkups. Six months ago he had a perfectly normal CT scan, but six weeks ago, he had a routine chest X-ray that was not normal.

“The next day we learned he had a tumor, about 10 centimeters, that had developed since his prior exam,” Krissi said. “He was back to work with full duties, no complications or problems. Now he’s undergoing chemo.”

The tumor is located just outside Shawn’s lungs. In a few weeks, Shawn’s doctors will do another CT to ensure the tumor is shrinking. The goal is to prevent the tumor from invading Shawn’s lungs and to reduce its size so it can be surgically removed.

“His doctor fully expects him to recover from this and be back to work within a year,” she said.

Mike Singler, a firefighter/paramedic who works at Station 1 with Shawn, said the entire department is doing everything possible to support Shawn and his family physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

In addition to raising funds for the family – $10,000 so far between collecting at the firehouse and the GoFundMe webpage the firefighters started – Singler said firefighters have also made numerous phone calls and visits, sent emails, invited Shawn to break bread with them at work, kept him abreast of their calls, and even raked leaves and cut the grass.

“This week we’re going to get the Christmas decorations out of the attic and help his wife decorate the house,” Singler said.

It’s this support that’s keeping Shawn going. “It helped me beat cancer and I’m confident it’s going to help me beat it again,” Shawn said.

“Every day I went to work with a smile on my face even though I knew it could be a tough day,” he said. “We’re helping people in their lowest time of need. We know what we’re doing is good.”

Shawn’s cancer battle began in October 2012. Neither one heard of liposarcoma before his diagnosis.

Fortunately, the tumor was localized and encapsulated. Doctors removed it and then Shawn underwent radiation. This second round of cancer is more challenging. Shawn is experiencing some nausea and nerve pain at the tumor site as the chemo cuts off the tumor’s blood supply.

Still, Shawn’s doctors are very optimistic.

“He is only 37 years old, and it’s much easier when you’re young to fight a cancer like this,” Krissi said. “However, it’s a very aggressive cancer.”

Krissi said firefighters are at increased risk for cancer. A recent study underscores her concern. From 2010 to 2015, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health studied 30,000 firefighters and found an increased risk of certain types of cancer, mostly digestive, oral, respiratory, and urinary cancers.

Krissi and Shawn both exhort firefighters to shower and wash their gear as soon as possible after fighting a fire to reduce their exposure to dirt and chemicals.

“It’s always been a badge of honor to have dirty gear,” Krissi said, “but they need to keep those carcinogens off them.”