The Relay For Life
We are making plans for the events for Relay For Life, in Wetzel County again.
As all of you know, the giving of time, money, ideas, and most of all participation is needed.
It is one event that all of the money raised goes directly into research to find a cure for this ugly disease.
Cancer knows no gender, age, income level, or anything else. It does not discriminate.
I know of no family it has not touched in one way or another. Cancer many times does not announce its pending arrival into our bodies. Yes, there are a few warning signs, yes there are tests, but no grand announcement it is about to attack.
I can think of no worse announcement from a doctor than those horrid words, “You have cancer.”
Or a phone call, e-mail, or some way of communication from a loved one with those horrid words, “I have cancer.”
I have written on this before, but it needs mentioning again. I am a survivor. Thirtysome years ago, I was told I needed a minor surgery.
Since this was to be a scheduled minor surgery, I was taken to the hospital, left to admit myself. I had two young children at home who were about ready to get back home from school. So I felt this was something I could handle myself.
Later, after I was admitted, etc., my doctor came into my room with his RN. He seemed more somber than usual, but I knew he probably had something on his mind. Sure enough, he did.
He walked near my bed, took my hand, and quietly said, my procedures for your surgery have been changed for in the morning.” It will be more complicated than planned. You have cancer. He then quietly turned away and left my room immediately. Many moments later, my mind clicked in and I lay there in my bed trying to figure out just what he had said. I think our minds have a way of blocking out what we don’t want to hear.
I rang my bell for a nurse and asked for the RN who had been with my doctor. When she came quickly into my room, I said, “What did Dr. Westbrook say?” She took my hand, looked down at me, and confirmed my worst fear. He said, “You have cancer.”
Several months later on one of my many checks up with him following the surgery, I said to him, “That was a horrid way to tell me I have cancer.” His reply took me by surprise. He said, “If you can come up with a more pleasant way to tell one of my patients that news, I will be happy to use it.” After thinking about this, I had to agree there is no pleasant way to do this.
Those of you who have been told the same thing can relate to this.
I found it impossible at times to even use that ugly word, cancer. I don’t know why I was one of those who so far have survived this disease, while others do not. I do know at times there is almost a guilty feeling associated with this.
At the Wetzel County Survivors and Caregivers Dinner, which will be held this year on June 11 (again ironic, since this is my birthday) at 6 p.m. you are among many survivors, knowing they and you have all walked this same journey.
It is then that I often ask myself, “Why me?”
Then years later, I had the most horrid news a mother can hear from her child. My son sent me an e-mail telling me the news he had been diagnosed with that same dreaded disease, cancer. At first I was stunned. Then as reality took over, I cried, I yelled, and a quiet came over me asking, “Why can’t this be me.?” I would gladly give my life for my son to live. Craig’s cancer, when discovered, had already advanced from colon, to liver, and lungs. Then evidently to his brain. Watching so many times as he lay helpless in his bed, I asked the same question, had the same guilt feelings. He chose to fight with chemo treatments and many other things to either delay or discourage new cells from forming.
This year at our Relay For Life, I will again take part in the event. I will be on The Chronicle Team. I will do all I can to help raise money, give hugs to others, cry with them as I stand at that awesome candle lighting service. I will be walking in the Survivors walk and I will then be walking in the memorial walks.
I have asked many of my son’s friends to send a donation for a candle for him. This will be his big event. His close friends have all sent donations for a candle. With the economy as it is, I decided to ask more people for a contribution in his memory.
As our track is lined with many many candles, it reminds you just how many this horrid disease has touched.
As the lights dimmed, the lighted candle glowing for both survivors and in memorial and Amazing Grace is sung, we are all fixed with sadness. Tears are sheds, some of joy for survivors, other tears for those we have lost to cancer.
My request to you is, if you have not taken part in one way or another, in this event, please do so.
Join one of the many relay teams; contribute for either a survivor or memorial candle.