Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Silent Mile Message

On Saturday, our local TNT groups will do the Silent Mile once again.  I wish I could be there, but I cannot be.  So I wrote something for Kate to read to the group.  Here it is.  If you, too, are engaged in Team in Training (or some other cure for cancer fund raising) right now, then this is for you as well - so, THANK YOU!

Remission Accomplished! In December 2002, nearly exactly 10 years ago, this was the message I received from my oncologist. For anyone going through treatment for any type of cancer, this is the news they want so badly to hear. Doctors are reluctant to say “cured,” but they will say “remission,” or “NED” (No Evidence of Disease). These were among the sweetest words I have ever heard – sweeter than if I were to learn that I had won the half a billion dollars Power Ball this week (although that would be a close second).

Chemotherapy is tough. In my life to date, it is the hardest thing I have gone through. It was tougher than my three marathons and three half marathons – even the marathon in Alaska in a pouring, cold rain with mosquitos the size of small airplanes. And keep in mind that compared to some other cancer patients that I have heard about, my cancer treatment was like a first-class vacation on a tropical island – complete with one of those drinks with the little umbrella sticking in it.

I am very lucky to have reached 10 years remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and I plan to keep on going. I feel like I have a lot of living yet to do before I see my last sunset and hike my last trail. Yet, I know that there are no guarantees. I know people who say, “If I had to go through chemo again, I would not do it.” I don’t feel that way. I would not want to do it again, of course, but I would. But if I ever have to, I hope that it will be easier the next time around because of people like you – people raising money not just for a cure, but for a cure that doesn’t make you feel so ill that sometimes you don’t focus on getting through the day, but just through the next minute. Where your stomach does flips so spectacular that a Cirque de Soleil performer would turn green with envy. Where your brain is so foggy that the light from an explosion from a Chinese fireworks factory wouldn’t cut through the fog. Where you go into the ER in the middle of the night, and the doctor suggests that dynamite just might be required to get things moving again. (“Give me the paper to sign and light the fuse!” I told him).

From this cancer survivor, and on behalf of the thousands going through cancer therapy every day, thank you for what you do. Thank you for having our backs! Thank you for racing for a cure!