Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reflections of the year

I often view the holiday season as a time for reflection. While reflection should occur frequently, Christmas is a time where I get to slow down a bit and look back on events that transpired throughout the year.

This year I am reflecting on my first 2-event year and how wonderful it was to go coast-to-coast as well as be the first and last events for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. I met lots of new folks who had a ton of energy as well as return to embrace friends from previous years. Both events went very well. This is a time in the year where people step outside their daily grind to really give of themselves. It is a chance to see people at their best.

But alas, I also reflect on the fact that I went to 2 more Breast Cancer 3-Days this year. Do I grow weary of attending? NO. However, what I yearn for is the day I can go to a Breast Cancer 3-Day that is not about raising money awareness, but a PHAT party to celebrate the fact we have accomplished our goal of finding ways to give people a lifetime.

My best friend visited last night. She is finishing her PHd in genetic statistics. What was revealing to me yesterday was that cancer will never go away. It is not something we can immunize against. Current research is at the point of trying to figure out the causes and how to stop cells from dividing, which if I understand correctly, is the problem when you have cancer. Everything can cause cancer, so science is working on figuring out how to correct the body once cancer has been found.

The epiphany to me was that I will probably be volunteering for a long time until the solution is developed. If for no other reason then to raise awareness to get checked early, then my battle will have been worth the cost. The promising news is that my best friend's advisor, a well respected geneticist in the industry truly believes the solution will be found in her lifetime...that means theirs hope for me to see this through.


Monday, December 3, 2007

How the thought of cancer affects me

The last few days have been tenuous for me and my family. Over the weekend I had to bring my mom in to the emergency room for lightheadedness and other symptoms that require medical attention. Over the course of 2 days, assessments have indicated internal problems. Whether you are a cancer survivor or the family member of a cancer survivor, anything worse than the flu can send you into worrisome thoughts about cancer.

My first thought, "please don't let it be cancer." I hung on every word the doctors said. I copied down terminology and conditions that they spewed. I googled or researched each term. "What are the symptoms?" "What are the causes?" "What's the treatment?" To call medicine a science, I sometimes really wonder. It's not a science per's an art. Yes, they know all the names of conditions, symptoms, and technical terms...but when it comes to the bottom line, can they get the differential correct the first time? That's the art.

Last year, I ended up having some surgery. Let's just say, symptoms caused me to go to the doctor. What started out as one thing, ended up in the removal of a lymph node for me. Detrimental? Not highly, but the art in determining my problem was missed by two doctors...yup credentialed and all. My biggest worry was whether or not they were going to diagnose correctly...because the power of the internet gave me the ability to look up what I had potentially. Guess what? Cancer was in there as one of the choices.

Just knowing my mom is a survivor makes me that much more paranoid when things happen to me. A good friend of mine is a cancer survivor. She has attempted to put cancer out of her mind and now I understand to some degree...why.

So today, we learn my mom does not have's something else...but what? A two to three day wait is now required for the results from the biopsy. I pray it is nothing serious.

But in the end, look what cancer has done to me. I think it no different than any other major life threatening event and how it affects peoples' lives. Am I scared of it? Sure. I hope to avoid cancer and as many other similar problems in my life.

That's why I fight. I fight the fight so maybe someday, just children and children around the world will know a world where you don't have to worry about cancer.