Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cancer Revisited

A few years ago when I started this blog, many articles were geared toward the fight against cancer and advocating for colon cancer screening.  I have been cancer free for about 8 years now and some of my individual issues have been on the back burner.

Well the "beast" has returned to my family once again.  My first cousin, Lynn, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the summer of 2008.  Since that time she has been the recipient of multiple chemo treatments, hospitalizations and surgery.   We have reconnected since my father's death in 2001 her mother's in 2003 and both of our cancer diagnoses.

Although I finished my treatment in 2003 and have been cancer-free and Lynn continues her fight to this hour, I still consider both of us to be survivors.  How have I come to this conclusion?  You have the point you feel a pain of have something going on physically that you never experienced before.  You go to your doctor.  They run tests.  You may see a specialist or have a biopsy....more test.  Then the day comes when your sitting in an office somewhere and a doctor tells you the words you know that are coming, "you have cancer."

Being a survivor has nothing to do on whether you live or ever become disease free. Being a survivor is about not letting the disease rule you life and to continue to live your life on your terms.

Cancer really does hit women harder than men especially in ovarian and breast cancer.  The treatments can be brutal.  Weight gain, weight loss and hair loss are part of the norm.  The "loss" of  physical appearance can be emotionally draining for some if not most.  The silver lining to this is you could can focus on the heart and soul which now shines brighter than ever.

While laying in my hospital bed in '02, it was time for the "Jimmy V Classic" on ESPN.  They replayed his speech at the ESPY's that night and for some strange reason I knew I would be ok.

Here is the last part of that great speech:

Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.  

For anyone taking part in Relay for Life this season, think of those words above.

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