Hello Family and Friends
Getting a cancer diagnosis is probably one of the most devastating things a person has to experience. You read all of the time about people telling you how to cope with cancer and what your treatment options are, so I'm not going to do that. What I am going to do is to tell you that you are in my heart and on my mind, and I promise to continue saying a prayer for you every day for all the support I have received from my family and friends these last 18 months!
If there is one thing I know, I know that God is able. And as if that weren't already enough, I know I’m a trooper. I instantly thought that if anyone could get the diagnosis and beat it, surely, it was me. I can't say that I wasn’t scared to death when the doctor told me the news, but I can tell you a few things grounded me in that instance first, my faith, then, my love for my family, and then my zest for life.
I didn't flinch as I asked my doctor, "So, what's next?" She said, "Well, I believe I've removed all of it, and it doesn't look like it has spread. Through 6 long surgeries and recuperation sessions in these last eighteen months I’m happy to say my story ends well. The cancer hadn't spread, and I will be fine. I know everyone's story doesn't end like his. And I didn't tell you that to make you feel bad if your experience with yourself or someone in your life isn't looking like it will end the same. What I do want to offer you is hope; hope and belief other good things may come from it like how something like this pulls and welds families together.
So, if you're living with cancer or experienced it the way I have or through a loved one, a diagnosis doesn't have to be the end. Everything happens for a reason. Whatever season I’m in with this disease, I take it one day at a time and sometimes one hour at a time. My prayer is that a cure will be found to stave off this disease once and for all. But until it is discovered, I take heart that someone out there loves me and is praying on my behalf.
I also have an amazingly strong will to live.
I get out of bed every morning as if nothing is wrong. I may have known I was going to have to face things and could feel sick during the day, but I never got out of bed that way. There was a lot I was fighting for. I have children who think I am the best thing since sliced bread, a wonderful life and a magical love affair with my husband and since I was diagnosed I now have 2 more granddaughters making a total of 15 grandchildren! Who wouldn’t want to live after that?
My will to live means that I really want to live, whether or not I’m afraid to die. I want to enjoy life, I want to get more out of life, I believe that my life is not over and I am willing to do whatever I can to squeeze more out of it. The threat of death often renews our appreciation of the importance of life, love, friendship and all there is to enjoy. We open up to new possibilities and begin taking risks we didn't have the courage to take before. Facing the uncertainties of living with an illness makes life more meaningful. The smallest pleasures are intensified and much of the hypocrisy in life is eliminated. When bitterness and anger begin to dissipate, there is still a capacity for joy.
A way to strengthen this partnership is to extend the relationship to others. The emotional experience of sharing and enjoying your family and partnerships supports your love for life and your will to survive. This was the main reason I NEEDED to do our family reunion this year even if it meant it would exhaust me. I knew that being around that large of a family would be a drug that was like no other medication I could have been put on.
As I made the transition from helpless victim to activist, one of the most important realizations is that you have everything to do with how others perceive you and treat you. If you can accept your condition and hold self-pity at bay, others won't feel sorry for you. If you can discuss your disease and medical therapy in a matter-of-fact manner, they'll respond in kind without fear or awkwardness. You are in charge.
Sharing my life with others and receiving aid or support from friends and family will improve my ability to cope and help me fight for your life. A person who is lonely or alone often feels like a helpless victim. There is a need to share your own problems, but helping others find solutions or cope better with the problems of daily living gives strength to both the giver and the receiver. There are few more satisfying experiences in life than helping a person in need.
Hope can be maintained as long as there is even a remote chance for survival. It is kindled and nurtured by even minor improvements or a remission and maintained when crises or reversals occur. There are times when I feel exhausted and drained by never-ending problems and feel ready to give up the struggle to survive. All too often it seems easier to give up than to keep on fighting. Frustrations and despair can sometimes feel overwhelming. Determination or dogged persistence is needed to accomplish the difficult task of fighting for my health.
The experience of cancer is not only destructive in a physical way but can be a major deterrent to my fighting attitude and will to live. But even during the roughest times, there are often untapped reserves of physical and emotional strength to call upon to help me survive one more day. This reserve adds meaning to my life as well as serves as a lighthouse that leads me to a safe haven during a turbulent storm. Hope has different meanings for each person. It is a component of a positive attitude and acceptance of our fate in life. I use my strengths to gain success to live life to the fullest. Circumstances often limit my hopes of happiness, cure, remission or increased longevity. I also live with fears of, pain, of being a real financial burden to my husband, a bad death or other unhappy experiences.
Each of us has the capacity to live each day a little better, but we need to focus on both purpose and goals and set into action a realistic daily plan--often altered many times--to help us achieve them. These resources are the foundation of the will to live. Only by using the power of the will to live--nourished by hope--can we achieve the sublime feelings of knowing and experiencing the wonders of life and appreciate its meanings though vital living.
So that is why I am going to put my body into action so that it practices what it preaches. I have registered to attend my 2nd annual Run For The Cure Breast Cancer Race on October 2nd 2009. I had been unsure whether or not I would be able to attend as I knew I had my 6th surgery coming up in the fall. So needless to say when I came home from our family reunion in Sask in August I was thrill to find out I had a call from my surgeon’s office saying she had a cancellation that week did I want it?? YESSS!! And the first thing I did once I could move my arms without so much pain was to send in my registration to do the race. Here is where you come in by choosing one of the following ways you can assist me with my goal to raise awareness for breast cancer research.
1. Join our race team named SMILESONLY. If we can get the minimum of 10 people registered we get our t-shirts monogrammed You can still do the race with us and not register. You can run the race, walk it, be in a wheelchair, stroller or any other way you need to do it by.
2. Send a monetary donation either through my snail mail address or through the website (at end of letter)
3. Join us for our 1st Annual Race For The Cure yard sale on September 19th. Address below. That date is actually our 31st wedding anniversary and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate it then by being thankful we still have one to celebrate and by using the funds collected that day to donate to the Breast Cancer Research. You can either come by and support us by visiting us that day (and buy things hehehe) or else if you have household items you are trying to get rid off please feel free to drop them off the day before with the understanding ALL monies collected will go to Breast Cancer Research,
4. Offer your continued support through letters, emails, calls, cards.. all things I get I print and place them in my pink scrapbook. So on days where I don’t get dressed and I spend more time with my head in the bucket then out of it, I open up my scrapbook and I am reminded I am loved by a lot of people.
5. Do the run in the city you live in
So whichever way you wish and are able to support me, I am eternally grateful. On closing I would like to give you the lyrics by Melissa Etheridge to a song she wrote after she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She too is a survivor.
It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast
If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend I run for life
It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I'm still learning the lesson
To waken when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for us all
And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more
Again thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul!!!! If you have any questions please ask away or if you have any fund raiser ideas that I can do in one more month let me know that too!!
All my thankful love
#101-13340 70B Ave
Surrey BC V3W 7Z1