I am writing this blog for all the sweet friends & family I have lost to cancer, any kind of cancer. People talk about how cancer is the small "c," & Christ is the big "C." Ultimately, I believe that will always be true. The reality remains, however, that cancer is a powerful beast! It's a monster, a predator, a thief in the night that preys upon unsuspecting souls. I know I am using strong words, but frankly, I don't have strong enough words to describe cancer.
It disrupted my life unsuspectingly 6 years ago this coming summer. I think perhaps I was at one of the happiest & healthiest times of my life. I was riding my bike 10 miles a day. We had just taken a cruise to see my son in law play his trumpet on the big ship. My middle daughter was planning her wedding. Life was good.
Suddenly, one Sunday night, a lump was discovered which would alter everything about my life. Thing is, I had no idea the changes it would bring. Yes, I am still alive! Yes, I am grateful more than I have words to express. BUT, in the last (almost) six years, I have watched too many kind souls die from cancer. I have been robbed of much myself, but at the same time, I have been blessed abundantly with more than I could ever imagine. I can only thank God for that!
So... here's to my dad (tho' it's been 22 years, such a deep loss even now), my mom (had cancer among other health issues), Chauncey, Elizabeth, Brenda, Cybil Sue, Linda, & so many others. You see, the outlook of cancer is bleak. Yes, great strides are being made, but at the same time, people are still dying from cancer. If the DNA of cancer can be tracked, why are people still dying?
I do not have a medical brain. Maybe you have the answer to my question. My only HOPE is in the big "C" (Christ) & in research. If I understand correctly, the new budget proposal cuts funding for cancer research dramatically. The National Institutes of Health budget will be reduced by $6 billion. I cry for our country & the people who stand to be hurt by this budget (not just today's cancer survivors, but future cancer survivors too).
NO ONE is IMMUNE to CANCER! I have mentioned those who have passed, but I cannot ignore the young women who fight for their lives. Also, those who are BrCa positive & fear not only for their own lives but the lives of their precious offspring. There is my beloved & brilliant friend who just had a double mastectomy & a hysterectomy. She's only in her 30's! There's my vibrant friend whose metastatic cancer has returned with a vengeance!
Here's what goes on inside a cancer support group I attend, a group which usually has about 15 members present but the # & the faces vary from month to month: fear of lumps, fear of surgeries, marriage issues, fear of children losing their mama, children losing their mama, lack of symmetry, death, recurrence of cancer, return of metastatic cancer, lymphedema, chemo brain, loss of femininity, low self esteem, loss of hair, fear of the unknown, PET scans regularly, tears, laughter, faith, heartache, support...
It is my belief that if you find a way to support cancer, you are helping all cancers. Research is research. A breakthrough for one cancer can lead to a breakthrough for all cancers. I realize I am almost 6 years out. Yay me! Yay me for every day I have lived in the moment not being robbed of my joy! However, my odds do not improve, my life will never go back to 10 mile bike rides, & chemo has done a number on my brain & my neuromuscular disease. Please realize cancer does not define me, but it has stripped me of more than I am able to explain in this blog. Daily, I cannot escape its ruins.
So... I beg of you, please in the name of Chauncey, Elizabeth, Brenda, Cybil Sue, Linda & so many others, give to TEAM SWEET POTATAS! In the name of those who suffer now (Shelly, Jaq, young women having prophylactic surgeries, Diane, Bilinda, Ann & many more.) In the name of those who will be diagnosed tomorrow; they just don't know it. In the name of the budget proposal, please give & give generously. TEAM SWEET POTATAS needs your help but more importantly, people with names & lives need your help!