Sunday, February 12, 2012
Warrior waiting reinforcements..
I am a breast cancer survivor. If you have read much of what I have written you know that..and I am currently posting my story in my Relay for Life blogs one part at a time. The reason for that is I know that we are a busy society. We all have so much going on at a time that we simply do not have time to spend sitting and reading - which is a sad statement coming from a writer, but I am also a realist. So I share in parts. That is not the main reason I am writing this. Not only am I a breast cancer survivor I am a strong supporter for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life.
Don't run away..there is a point to this.
As I said, I am a survivor. My cancer was diagnosed in Feb. of 2008. I had a lumpectomy, went through radiation and have been cancer free since. I know of others who have had cancer. They under went various forms of treatment and currently like me are cancer free. Unfortunately I have also lost friends and family to cancer. I know of people who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease. A disease that doesn't care, it attacks and does its worst.
When I was diagnosed, the most difficult thing for me to do was tell my family. My husband was out of town- he was on a bus on his way to go through orientation for a truck driving job. A job that he didn't get, but that was at the moment a good thing. Still, I had to call and tell him over the phone, I had cancer. My mother you could tell was prepared, she knew as I did long before the official diagnoses. One of my brothers was an entirely different story. I will never, ever forget the look on his face. At first he couldn't even look at me. He looked everywhere else but at me. I hadn't told him, mom did. Its terrible watching someone having to face the mortality of life. It was breaking my heart watching my brother not know what to say, how to act. There were no jokes or smart-aleck comments coming from him. Before I walked away I had him smiling and looking at me again. I had to, I could not leave him in that state.
I've learned a lot since my battle. I pretty much went through my battle alone. Oh my church family asked how I was, they sent cards making sure I knew they were praying for me. When they would ask I'd tell them I was fine. I was exhausted, I was somewhat alone, there were times I wanted to just find a corner and hide. Those things I never spoke out loud. It showed to the people who cared to look. Those that would actually stop and ask..and I'd smile and tell them I was doing okay. They didn't really believe it, but they didn't push. I didn't know, what I know now.
Nearing the end of my cancer treatments I got involved with Relay for Life. I have met some very well informed people, I have met people with a passion for this greater than mine. I have sat and listened to how people who have been touched by cancer fight with what ever means they have.
The American Cancer Society does not focus on one single cancer. It works to fund research to fight them all. While some cancers get more attention, there are those who are dying from the ones you rarely hear of. More research is needed. People come up with all manner of ideas. They may have an idea for a new medicine, a new type of treatment, a new form of surgery. It is all written up and turned in to be considered. There is the stack that is put into the have funding file and then there is the stack that occupies the "pay if" file. Pay if.. the money is there. Tomoxifin came from the pay if file.
The ACS has resources for those that call their 800 number( 1.800.ACS.2345 ) needing information, for themselves or for someone they know. There is always someone there manning the phones. There is always someone manning the web site ( www.cancer.org ) ready to help. One of the items available is an information kit. The individual battling cancer can get this folder to keep all of their information in one place. Reports from doctors, test results, medicines..all in one place, readily available when needed. There is always someone to answer questions, or simply to talk.
The ACS has what is called a Look Good Feel Good program. For those under going chemo and who loose their hair, there are wigs, scarves and hats available. There is someone who can help the survivor with makeup tips.
They have a program that will get the survivor back and forth to treatments, to make sure they are able to get their medicine.
There are programs that will help pay for medicines, that will help make sure that the patient/warrior/ survivor doesn't go without food.
It isn't all research, even as research plays a large part. Its about the people. All of the people that I have worked with are individuals who care greatly. They see the need, they have been touched in some way and have become determined to make a difference. I have seen people come in with fire in their eyes and compassion in their heart. You can feel the energy coming from them and see the results.
Cancer is not silent. You can hear the wails of those who have lost loved ones. You can hear the cries of those suffering- even if the fighter says not a word.. you can see and hear their pain in your heart. With every individual who walks away a survivor there is a celebration. They will see and enjoy another birthday. Their family and friends will get to spend more time with them.
That is why I do what I do. I want a world without cancer. I do research on my own. I post blogs sharing some of the things I have found. I share my story and I share my thoughts and feelings. But more importantly I support Relay for Life. I participate, I spend the night walking with other survivors. I walk with those who are care givers. I walk with those who walk because for what ever reason their loved one can't. I ask, I beg, I make the awareness ribbons in hopes of raising money to support this group. I offer up my photography in hopes of raising money, portions of the sales from my books goes to Relay. All because I want other people to be able to celebrate. I want to help fund the research to end this. I want it that no one else will have to see the pain in the eyes of those they love because they just found out they have cancer.
I fully support the ACS and Relay for Life-won't you?