Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Cancer Story

At my Senior Collaborative meeting today, a member did a great presentation from The Victory Center which is a cancer support center. It is amazing to me the services they provide to people who are challenged with cancer. Nothing like this existed 16 years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer.

My story:
I was 22 years old, fresh out of college, starting my career at Ford Motor Company. Stopped by a 24hr clinic to get some medicine for a cold I could not shake on my way out for a Friday night (yeah, I was sick but that was no reason for not going out on a Friday night).

The look on the young doctor's face told me something was wrong.

"You have cancer. You need to get to a hospital, now."

WHAT! "Your joking right? I'm going out."
(remember, I was an arrogant, little 22yr old)

"I wish I was. You are quite sick."

WHOA.....I grabbed the xray and went home.

2 weeks later, Hodgkin's Disease--stage 4.
Six months of chemo, ABVD (it was suppose to be one year).
My hair got thin and I NEVER allowed myself to throw up.

Complete remission.

I don't know why I am writing about this. I am having all these little flashes of images from 16yrs ago. But they are more than images. I can hear the sounds, smell the chemo room, feel the aches of treatments, remember the weakness from it all.

I also remember the strength I conjured up, my will to live that grew, the appreciation for life I learned and the certainty I truly believed I would survive.

The Victory Center in Toledo, Ohio has some amazing programs for cancer patients, survivors and their families. I encourage you to check out all they have to offer and support their fundraisers.

We are quite fortunate to have such a great resource in our area.

Thank you for reading my story.

"Peace Baby"

1 comment:

Sandy of Sandy's Stuff for Women said...

As you know, Angie, my life revolves around our granddaughter, Emme. She is happy, healthy, gorgeous and the smartest little girl in the world.

But her momma, my beautiful daughter-in-law Jan, was given the exact same diagnosis about 5 years ago, Hodgkin's stage 4 (thw most progressive stage for those who don't know).

She had the same outcome as you. Chemo, hair thinning (she now hates any photos of her during that time), no massive reactions to therapy (she credits it to attitude and acupuncture), and comoplete remission.

As you've both since learned, chemo was no deterrent to fertility! Yea!

I think she and our son considered the event a wake-up call and have made many changes in their life, particularly their diet. They don't mind the extra cost of organic foods and pay close attention to their daughter's diet.
Massages and other holistic approaches are now a part of their lifestyle.

Bravo to the Victory Center and other folks who work hard to make the lives of cancer survivors more hopeful and meaningful.