Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Yesterday, I participated in Westport, Connecticut's inaugural Komen walk for breast cancer. It was convenient to take part in a Komen event only 20 minutes from home since the only other Komen walk in this state takes place every June in Hartford--an hour away.

This was my fourth Komen walk so I knew the drill. First, there's a survivor's breakfast followed by the survivor Parade of Pink. It was a great milestone to walk with the 5-10 year survival group! After the parade, a guest speaker took the stage. She sported a bald head so we knew what that was all about.  Sheila spoke about getting stage 2 cancer some 10 years ago. She talked about how she did everything she could to maintain a healthy body after her treatment--eating vegan, working out religiously.

Despite her diligent efforts, her breast cancer came back. She is now standing before a death sentence and will have to undergo treatment for the rest of her life. As I stood in the rain under a Parade of Pink poster, I thought about my own diagnosis five years ago--Stage 3 locally advanced breast cancer. Sheila's breast cancer was less advanced than mine and yet there she is. Running the last lap of her battle.

It got me thinking that I should go back to Dr. Fischbach and get an annual check-up. I started wondering if I'm walking around with metatastic breast cancer and I don't even know it. But wait. Sheila said she passed out unconscious when her cancer came back. I haven't had that happen--yet.

Amy, the captain of our team--The Fighting Irish--helped organize the event in honor of her sister, who is also battling stage 4 breast cancer. I introduced myself to Amy's sister and when she asked me if was cancer-free after five years, I was embarrassed to say yes. Like Sheila, her chemotherapy treatments are on-going for the rest of her life.

This disease is unpredictable. Why them and not me? Who knows. I can tell you this much. When I walked in that parade with other women who hit the five-year survival mark, I thanked my lucky stars.

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