surviving the impact of cancer
I was first touched by the impact of cancer in 1969 when my mother was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. One of her kidneys was removed and we waited to see what would happen. We were hopeful, as she was a strong woman and always filled with optimism.
Unfortunately, the cancer spread to her other kidney, and quickly to the rest of her vital organs. We lost her in January of 1970. I was 13 years old and my life would never be the same. That is the devastating effect of cancer. It touches so many lives. Not just of the person diagnosed and suffering, but of virtually everyone who is close to that person–whether a family member, friend, or work colleague.
The other person closest to me that I have lost through cancer was my cousin, neighbour and best friend Jeanette. Her cancer journey was quite different than my mother’s in that it began with a tiny lump in her lung that was removed. Five years passed and we thought she had won the battle, only to be knocked down with the knowledge that the cancer had metastasized into her bones. She suffered with the deadly pain of bone cancer, and died within a year of the re-diagnosis. Another devastating loss–to me personally, and to everyone who knew her.
My third most impactful insight into the world of cancer has been via Sharon Brandow, a relatively new friend, neighbour and Toastmaster colleague who shared her recent cancer journey with our club via an immensely powerful speech. In the speech, Sharon tells us about her surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments and how they impacted her body and her life. Sharon closes her speech with the words, “We will win the battle with cancer. I have no doubt. And I full expect to see it in my lifetime.”
Thank you, Sharon, for those powerful words of encouragement, and Happy World Cancer Day for Saturday, February 4, 2017, to you and all the cancer survivors of the world. You have given us hope that cancer will be beaten.