One week from this moment, I will have gotten up at 4am to have a protein and carb rich breakfast, my team mates will have piled our duffel bags in the truck and driven to the Cow Palace, we will have completed our sign in and finished our group stretching. One week from right now I will be somewhere in Daly City heading to Ocean Beach. Hopefully the sky will be blue and the air warm. The route will be filled with people cheering us on. We will have begun the first of our three day walks.
I can't help but look back at how far we have come.
Back in April I was celebrating yet another birthday. It had been 14 years since I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The TV blared yet another ad for the Breast Cancer 3 day. I looked at the screen and imagined how great it must be for those athletic types to walk in something so worthwhile. I shook my head and went back to work, searching on the Internet for some signs of life in the Real Estate market.
I had a Dr. appt. to go over the results of my blood test from my physical. He sat me down and told me my blood sugar was borderline diabetic, there were signs of potential heart disease and said to me. "I know just about every Doctor who looks at you thinks, ah, Breast Cancer survivor, and they treat you like you are a cancer patient, but Cathy its been 14 years. You are not going to die from Breast Cancer, you will die from heart disease."
This was a little scary but in a strange way very liberating. I had been living 14 years like I was going to die from Cancer (someday). What he said made me realize, I was just like everyone else. I didn't know what I would die from, it could be Cancer, one day, but while I was waiting for that, it could be something else like a heart attack.
Within the next week I got a phone call from my friend Patti. Patti had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Here it was, another Aha moment. While I was waiting to die from Breast Cancer, other people would be diagnosed with this disease, other people would die. Then the ad came on the TV again. 3 day - 60 miles, a walk for the cure. I looked closer at the ad. I could see old and young people. I saw people with no hair (chemo patients). I saw heavy people, skinny people, men and women. I saw and realized, that I had misjudged this walk. I saw, that if I wanted to, if I believed in myself and took it one step at a time, I could do this walk. I could DO something about Breast Cancer.
I sent out an email and asked who would like to come along. One of the first to say yes, was my daughter (who also happens to be Patti's God-daughter), then followed by good friends and college sisters of Patti's and mine, Jill and Barbara. We began our training, as Patti began her treatment. After surgery, they found no evidence of disease in her lymph nodes, and so, she began radiation. Patti also began her training with zeal.
The first walks for me were 2 miles. They were around my office. Even in those I saw things I had never seen before. I walked paths I wondered about before, but never had walked. I began to build my strength and my insight. With every step I became to feel more empowered and stronger. I awakened in myself a sleeping tiger of self confidence and pride. Before I knew it, I was walking with Patti on my first 20 mile walk. The smile didn't disappear from my face for days.
Now, here we are. The walk is one week away. I want to walk every mile. I want to go the distance. There is a piece of me that wishes the end to the 3-day wasn't in sight. I do not want to lose one little bit of this gift I have gained during the past months. I have worked too hard for too long to get where I am today. I don't want to lose the hard fought battle to find out the truth. And the truth is, I can make a difference not only to others, but to myself. The truth is, nothing is impossible. The truth is friendship, true friendship, shows up, and always will. And the final truth is, Cancer is not the boss of me! I am the boss of me. Cancer is a pretender who threatens and bluffs its way into stealing people's lives. Cancer has power over us because we are afraid of Cancer. To beat Cancer you need to stare it square in the eyes and call it like you see it. Cancer is a dark and angry monster that needs to have a spotlight on it, so it will lose its power. If everyone would only shine their own light on this disease, we will kill it. We will end it. I have my light shining on it now and I can see how I have weaken it and in the process strengthen myself. In the beginning, I didn't think I could make a difference. Now I know we all can. Put your passion into the light you shine and watch how it transforms the world around you.
There is still time to DONATE. I promise, I will let you know all about this event. This 3 day will help Susan G Komen provide funds for education and treatment to thousands of women just like me and Patti. It will be the batteries in the floodlights that will end cancer. We need your help, please DONATE.