Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thinking about the C word

I have been avoiding this topic like the intruder it is. Maybe that's my way of pretending it will go away if I just don't mention it. It creeps in and sometimes out, but usually sticks around to an extreme degree. You hear that someone related to someone you know has it, and you pray for them. But you also pray just as hard that you don't become the someone whose relative has it. Then, you are that someone. Your relative does have it. And then, so does another...and another...and another. You go about life praying different prayers now. You pray for comfort where you know it will be lacking for quite some time. You pray for high spirits and low levels of pain. You think "what can I do?" knowing all too well that you can't do enough.

Emails arrive all the time from brave souls asking for money that will further fund a way out of this mess someday. They walk for days or run for miles in the hopes that their sheer desire to better themselves while supporting "the fight" will one day open the gates to healing...and maybe even a cure.

Cancer doesn't discriminate. It doesn't skip you if you've never had a cigarette. It doesn't care if you run eight miles a day. It doesn't take into account that you are too young or you have too many grandchildren to cuddle. While there may be typical situations, there are many, many exceptions to the rules.

My best friend's brother is considered to be cancer free and is living happily with a beautiful wife and three sweet sons.

My aunt currently fights tooth and nail every day to continue to cuddle the grandbabies.

My very young cousin just walked for three days as a beautiful survivor.

My veteran grandfather just began the "journey" known as treatment at eighty years old.

There are so many more. These are just to name a few that are close to my heart. Today I was given a wish family from an organization I used to work for to adopt for Christmas. I won't know if cancer is what has taken over their lives, but I do know they have a child that has had to fight for his or her life. It got me thinking about how little we talk about something that is so prevalent. No one wants to be the Debbie Downer who brings up cancer around the holidays. But truly we should be celebrating the survivors and the fighters. They need to know that while we may not personally know how they feel, we believe in them and we are proud of them. I know I haven't told them enough and I plan to do so in the coming weeks.

I am so thankful. Not only for my own good health but the good health of so many around me. I am also so very thankful for those who are fighting for what we often take for granted. They are my heroes.


  1. You say it so well, Jana. The intruder that cancer is becomes the monster that is fought. The fear of its wrath and what it will do to those we love never goes away. Will it come back? Will it steal lives that are SO worth living? God forbid - please! We can't heal the ones we love, although I'd step in my dad's shoes right now if I could make it all go away for him. Thank you for talking about it ... for bringing to your blog what goes through the minds of so many every day. Cancer is not exclusive to our family, but it sure feels that way lately. I love you - Mom

  2. So very well put. you are wise beyond your years. looking forward to seeing you, Seth, and precious Lila. I love you! Gail

  3. Really, this time I do have tears! I am so lucky to have you in my life!

  4. Well said! Fear of cancer makes us shy away from thinking and talking about it, but it touches so many lives. Thank you for being brave enough to say it!


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