The Cancer Bill

I could write about how cancer has touched my life in so many ways, but most of you have heard these things and I am not near as good of a writer as my LAF friend Suzanne.  So let me share with you her family story of cancer and why you all should become an advocate and join me in this effort at www.cancerbill.org.
“The three words that no one wants to hear (You Have Cancer) touch everyone at some time or another.  Cancer touched my life when my grandfather was struck with bone cancer before I could walk.  He was treated at MD Anderson. His right leg was amputated but he needed no further treatment. I was always fascinated by his prosthesis.  He never complained, never acted like it was a burden, and lived a full and happy life into his late 70’s. If anything, he taught me that cancer can be beat. This was before President Nixon waged the war on cancer. When I was twelve my mom’s oldest sister was diagnosed with cancer.  I remember going to the hospital and sitting with her through chemo and blood transfusions. The cancer had spread to her bones by the time she was diagnosed and I’m not sure that anyone knows where her cancer originated.  She died before I turned thirteen.  My dad had colon polyps when he was 39.  Not one doctor, nurse, or other health professional told us that this could be a precursor to cancer.  No one suggested that this could be passed from one generation to the next.  That was 35 years ago.  If only we had known. I was the next to hear those three fateful words and everyone reading this letter knows of my journey and the ups and downs that my family and I have experienced these past ten years.  I’m alive because of research but still fighting hard for every breath I take. I’ve shared my disease with the world just as others have shared theirs with me.  Friends living with the same three words have touched my life to the core, have made heartprints that will never disappear, and impressions that carry me through.  We have been fighting on the front lines.  Along the way another aunt was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  She is private about her diagnosis and hardly discusses the treatments and obstacles she has faced. Quietly, she fights. We wake every day to fight a war that should have been won long ago.  Instead someone waved a white flag while some of the troops were left in the middle of battles that offered no surrender. More prisoners near and dear to me have been taken in this war.  My uncle was quietly diagnosed with prostate cancer three years ago.  It was hush hush until this past year. Yet another aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was then that he shared his story.  We were fortunate. Her cancer was found in very early stages. When another uncle died of esophageal cancer their cancer stories collided with mine…….and the balance of dying with cancer and living with cancer came to full light. Just a few months ago still another uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The cancer had already spread to his liver. He was open to talking and I hoped that he would be able to wage his own battle against this horrible enemy.  He went through two rounds of chemo and found that he wanted to do no more.  He died this past Wednesday and I attended his funeral yesterday. He was the oldest of my uncles and my mom’s last living brother. As my uncle with prostate cancer is moving into hospice, my dad has been diagnosed with colon cancer.  The polyps we have so vigilantly watched for escaped early detection and somehow grew to 5cm.  This very preventable disease is once again wreaking havoc in my life. I feel not only touched by cancer but today completely surrounded and immersed by it. I’m ready to stand up to cancer, but more than anything I’m ready for this renewed war to be won.”

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Filed under Cancer, Inspirational Individuals

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