Sunday, March 8, 2015

Not gonna happen!

This weekend has been a very reflective weekend for me. I am saddened by the number of dear souls I know who are on this journey called "cancer." I went to see the movie last night, "Just Alice." It too caused me to reflect on the toll any disease takes on a person & its family. I am  not immune to Alzheimer's as my mother suffered deeply from that illness in her later years.

I experience memory loss due to chemo brain. My life is not at all comparable to Alice's life (the character in the movie with early onset Alzheimer's); however, I can empathize with her. But… what struck me the most was how her family hurt for her. Sometimes, they became annoyed by her issues (which was frequently followed by guilt). I found myself sobbing throughout the movie.

When I got home from the movie, I checked in with Facebook, only to find out that a dear friend's cancer has turned in to a bigger deal than how it first presented. I checked in on another friend, only to find that his cancer keeps popping up in new areas. Right now, I have a dear friend (so faithful) who is hoping to begin experimental treatment.

All of my friends who suffer are good people. One is a missionary. One is a fire fighter. One is a homemaker who is in the midst of planning a wedding for her daughter. (Yeah… I've been there). 2 others are  Homemakers. One is a poster girl for fighting colon cancer. So courageous! They ALL have deep faith. They all have given their lives to helping others & sharing the love of Christ. All except 1 is under 50. I cannot forget the child I pray for with brain cancer. He is 6.

I look at myself, & I see how cancer has attempted to ravage my life in every facet. It has attacked some of my dearest relationships. It has caused neuropathy to progress at a rapid pace. Some days I struggle to keep up with its. It has attempted to rob me of my joy. Not gonna happen! It has scared everything I cling to out of me except Christ. It has caused me to wear a sleeve I detest. It has stolen many of my memories. It has made me gain weight. It's caused me to seek counseling & physical therapy.

Cancer has hurt the ones I love the most. This aspect is rarely talked about or written about (as far as I know). Material for the Survivor is sometimes plentiful, but what about the family? This is why I sobbed through Just Alice. I could so relate to those looks of hurt & frustration in the eyes of her family. I could see how they cared for her, & what it cost them. Then, of course, there's always the fear of genetics.

So… forgive me if I write my fingertips away over the next few months as I try my hardest to raise money for my cause. I don't want to wear anybody out or become a thorn in their side. No… I just feel as though I need to be an advocate for both the Survivor & the family. Horrible things happen in life (even to the best of people). No one is immune. Please give. It could be your loved one or you sitting in this boat.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

a lump in my throat

Today I registered Team Sweet Potatas for its 4th year of participation in the 30th Race for The Cure. Wow! The Race is 30 years old. My team is 4 years old. Where does time go? I walked this Race for years before I became a Survivor. I always walked it with a lump in my throat. Honestly, the whole thing unnerved me. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be a Survivor.

Suddenly, after many years of wondering what it would be like to be a Survivor, I got my answer. I became  One. That first year (as a Survivor), I didn't really know what to expect. As always, I was filled with emotion. I was surrounded by friends & family who participated just for me. They wore my  name on their back (Wife, Mom, friend…).  These were the people who not only walked with me on that special day. These were the people who walked with me figuratively, held my hand, wiped my tears, cried for me.

The love & kindness shown me by my loved ones (family & friends) has always overwhelmed me. It was months before I could say 3 little words (even to myself), "I have cancer." What began as Stage 2 ended up Stage 3. What began as chemo & a lumpectomy with radiation turned into chemo, a double mastectomy, & radiation. What immediately changed my life in the blink of an eye, has continued to effect every thread of my being.

I can say, "I had cancer." I can say I am the better for it. Yes… it still causes me anxiety. I have an upcoming appointment with my oncologist in less than 2 weeks. My chemo has caused a neurological condition I already had to progress. My relationships have changed. I have lost dear friends to this dreadful disease. I suffer with my friends who suffer. I never take a moment for granted (not even a bad one). When I hear of a young mother being diagnosed, I cry inside.

This year I will race vicariously through my fellow Survivors. My boy, Eddie (he is like a son to me) will be graduating from college on the morning of The Race; I need to witness his special day. I am so proud of him! So… I am raising the bar. I hope to raise $10,000. I live because of the research of Susan G. Komen. Team Sweet Potatas races for future Survivors, for young mamas recently diagnosed, for dear friends lost in the battle, & for those who continue to "Fight like a Girl". Please support Team Sweet Potatas as I will be present in Spirit.

If you register for Team Sweet Potatas, you will receive a t shirt, & your registration fee will go toward my cause which is truly what is important. If you just make a donation to Team Sweet Potatas, it will go toward helping me reach my lofty goal. Either way, I would be honored to have you as a part of my team. Either way, the research will continue, & who knows whose life you will impact? Only God.