Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Survivor Looks Like

If there is one thing I've learned through chemotherapy, it's this:  Don't plan on anything during chemotherapy. The moment you start to think you are in control of the situation - all heck will break out.  Which is why, when my friend Kym invited me to walk with her in Coeur d' Alene's Race for the Cure on September 23rd  I had no idea if I would be able to follow through. But, as luck would have it, on race day I was just beginning to venture off the couch again after recovering from yet another chemo dose.  And though I was weak at the time, I've also learned not to let "gift" days pass us by. 

And the race - my first wearing a snazzy "survivor" tee-shirt - was certainly a "gift" day.  Surrounded by friends, family and a sea of community members all donning pink - it was inspiring to feel the support of others who have been affected by the disease.  And though the services offered by Susan G. Komen foundation (such as screening mammograms for those over 40) do not benefit me personally - it is certainly a good cause.  They do an amazing job of raising awareness about breast cancer and I love that so many communities are taking up their cause.

I was not prepared for the sheer mass of "pink" at the starting line!  Check out the guy in the sombrero!

Starting out.  It looks dreary in the pictures, but it was a perfect day for a walk.

A little weak yet - but I think I should get points for participation.

Teague, Maddie and Kendel hamming it up.  Teague just could not bear to wear pink.

Beck, Brock and I setting the pace - well sort of.

This made my heart hurt a little.  I hate that he has to be so young and know what this means.  At the same time, I am so proud of our family for the strength, support and love that we show every day.  We are stronger for having gone through this.

So many of us have been touched by the disease - whether through a mother, sister, grandma, aunt or friend.

The kids had a great time, walked the entire 5K and didn't whine once.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  I think it captures the spirit of the day.

Coeur d' Alene is wonderful place to live.  The race was a good reminder of how supportive our community is.
I made it the whole 5K too - and didn't barf on anyone's lawn.  No small feat considering the week I'd had.
The crew (minus Becky the photographer).  I have to admit the word "survivor" still feels a little foreign - maybe even premature.  I think while I'm still in the middle of it "warrior" may be more fitting.  But I look forward to the day when "survivor" fits like a glove.  I'll have earned it.  This isn't easy - this business of being a survivor.  But it's do-able thanks to the love and support of those that stand beside me every day.