Cancer never sleeps -- neither will I (tonight).
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Tomorrow night I'll be at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Participants will walk around a track lit by luminaries with the names of cancer survivors or those lost to cancer. From 7 pm to 7 am -- we'll walk remembering that cancer never sleeps. During every lap, I'll see my deceased mother's name, Romaine, as well as the names of two friends who were diagnosed last week and the names of many, many others who are/were affected. And my ST buddy, a survivor and a thriver!
I walked alone last year-- an experience I'll never forget.
In the starry, cold night, I shed tears of loss and of joy as I remembered my mom. She was 69 when she was diagnosed the first time. She underwent a very difficult treatment. Then she bought a used conversion van and filled it with her friends (whom she called the "old" ladies) around the state of Wyoming going to meetings together. After 14 more years, cancer called her name again. She died at home, recently smiling, saying she'd had a "wonderful, wonderful life". Then, she was non-responsive as she listened to the hammer dulcimer played by the Hospice volunteer (who had tears streaming down her face .... as did I).
I reflected, in awe, my 88 yr. old friend, Betty, who has lost a fiance, two husbands and a son. Contrary to all the doctors' dire predictions, she has also survived 3 different bouts of cancer and volunteers every day as a teacher's assistant in kindergarten. She also swims twice weekly and hosts meetings in her home twice weekly. And did I mention her garden? And that she washes her windows on a ladder? Betty is spelled I-N-S-P-I-R-I-N-G!
Tears streamed from laughter as I watched my son's friend walk/sprint/flail/fall around the track on metal, bouncy stilts.
He really racked up the laps with those babies strapped to his legs! And I scrambled to get out of his path!
My shift will be 9-12 midnight (or later if I can stay awake!). This year I'll be wearing my HRM, grateful that I'm healthier through SP. I've learned that improved health and fewer pounds give me a better chance against the cancer bullet. No guarantees, of course, but my odds have improved from a year ago.
Thank you, Chris Downie (the SP founder) for enabling millions of people to have free access to SP and your excellent team of experts.