My family Relay for Life team is less then 1 week away from taking to the tracks in Norwich for our first year as The Kung Fu Fairies.
I wanted to share my story. Two years ago, I went to a dermatologist for a spot on my scalp that just kept bleeding, didnít get infected, and I couldnít see in mirror. The PA did a punch biopsy and sent it to the lab. When I went back for follow up, luckily he didnít agree with pathology report (lab), and asked to do a second punch biopsy. For all of you that donít know I have been a nurse since 1986, and nurses make the worse patients! I received a call within a week that the biopsy came back positive for basal cell skin cancer (freak out time). I did much research and got sent to a plastic surgeon for removal of the growth. In November of 2011, I went to have same day surgery for removal. I came back to the room with a 1/3 of my head shaved, a huge pressure bandage on my head and a skin graft site from my right chest. There had been no instructions from office about any of this, and the doc had said the skin graft would be from my groin. FREAKED out! I then went weekly for follow ups to have both sites checked for two months ....
Luckily, both sites healed well. I have bought a hat to wear in the sun, which I have never done before. Skin cancer isnít something to ignore. It happened to me at 42. Please use sunscreen. Please wear a hat!
My reasons to Relay are many. Cancer has struck too many friends and family members. Some are survivors, but some fought and lost their battles. Our team began after the passing of my best friend, Nancy Graham. She asked a mutual friend, Deb Dubois to start a Relay team to help in the quest to find a cure for this dreadful disease. In 2008, we became Nancyís Corner team. Since then, we have also lost Deb, as well as another team member, Kathy Pollay. So the fight is personal Ė to honor those we have lost as well as those still fighting. Our team is dedicated to continue Nancyís wish to fight for a cure.
I Relay because of my friend. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer three years ago and felt like he couldnít tell anyone. He was afraid that people would pity him and start treating him differently. He lives about two and a half hours away from me so it wasnít that difficult to keep a secret. The next time I saw him his hair was buzzed and his long curls were completely gone, his signature locks were gone. He said it was just time for a change and I believed him. It was almost a complete year since the last time I saw him, he was getting older and everyone changes I thought it was just his time. About two weeks after I saw him he called me, which wasnít exactly normal; if he ever wanted to physically talk to me he would Skype so I was a little confused. It was late and he sounded completely exhausted, there was all this beeping in the background. I remember it just like it was yesterday. He told me he had to tell me something and that I couldnít freak out and I had to wait until he was completely done. He started off with heíd been sick for a while and he did cut his hair because he was changing but not the kind of change I thought. He had testicular cancer. What did I do, exactly what he told me not to do, freak out. The fact that this sickness could take him away from me forever was unimaginable. I asked about a million questions and he said that he was about to go in for surgery. I had to go because he was already breaking the rules having his phone. I said goodbye knowing that it may be the last time.
About a week later I got a call from his mom that he was ok but in the ICU and he didnít want to talk to anyone, but he had his phone on him. Me, being the stubborn person that I am picked up my phone, called him and proceeded to yell at him for not calling me the instant he knew he was OK.
Itís been a year now and he is still cancer free. Iím so proud of him for the huge fight that he went through. No one should have to fight alone, or feel like they canít tell anyone. I Relay for him, I Relay so people like him can live to see another birthday.
Relay is my chance to pass the baton in this race as a SUPPORTER!
I Relay for many reasons but most importantly Ė for ALL our loved ones! (For those we have in our memory and those who are currently fighting)
I Love the People.
I Love the excitement.
I Love being involved in the fight and the quest for a cure.
I Love the encouragement it gives to those who are fighting their battle.
I Love the financial assistance it gives to doctors who are diligently working to ĎFIND THE CUREí!
I Love the education that is so vital to help ourselves.
I Love the coming together as a community to offer support together.
I Love that the Relay is a TEAM event.
I Love having a part in the Relay each year!
I participate in the Relay for Life because cancer has affected many people in my life and I would like to help raise money to find a cure and be rid of this ugly disease.
I lost my sister to pancreatic cancer in 2003, she was 42 years old and left behind her husband and four children. My remaining sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, she had treatments and is now cancer free. I have several friends and co-workers who are going through or been through treatments for cancer. Cancer has taken a large toll on our society and we need to stop it.
Relay for Life gives us a chance to honor those who are fighting cancer and remember those who have lost the battle. This is a wonderful way to bring people together to support each other while raising money for a great cause.