Week 23: Walk For The Cured.

June 7, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )


I love a day that starts out with me running product through my hair and not pulling out actual fists full in the process. The latter’s enough to make anyone want to stay in bed, and that was me a year ago, just finished my fourth surgery for ovarian cancer and still feeling like shit.

This morning, however, I pulled nothing out of my hair. All of it stayed in my head. It’s a great celebration, considering yesterday I walked in the 17th annual Robert H. Lurie Cancer Survivor Walk in Grant Park. $15 in registration fees — no pledging required — was all it took to walk. This was not a walk to fight cancer or to raise funds but to fight hopelessness and raise awareness of one simple fact: We do survive. We — you — are more intractable than disease.

I debated for months whether or not to go. I have sort of an inferiority complex about my cancer, and also, though my scans have been clear since my surgery last May, I wasn’t sure I believed I was out of the woods yet. I definitely have avoided getting tests done these past few months. But T pushed me to walk, and I’m glad he did.

3500 people walked yesterday — the largest event of its kind. Survivors got purple t-shirts, supporters got white, and I have to say I was bothered that not even 20% of the crowd wore purple. I am fiercely proud to say you can survive aggressive, recurring cancer — even when, like mine, it doesn’t behave as it’s supposed to and it defies statistics and the best doctors. Even when, like me, it robs you of reproductive rights, of friends, of a job, of two jobs, of dignity temporarily. But even when you experience all this, if you have the support of 3500 people in white and purple shirts — or the support of just one guy in a white shirt, which I have in T — you can thrive. A year after my fourth surgery, I’m in a new job and the most promising one I have ever had because I was afforded pluck and maturity, even when I temporarily lost my ambition  — and even when I thought ambition and zest for life were gone for good. I am about to get engaged to a man who supported me as my best friend from the day he met me, which is luckier than I ever hoped to be, and I’m healthy, for however long that may last.

And even more reason for more purple t-shirts: Yesterday, after the walk, T and I headed to an art fest on Michigan Ave., where hundreds of thousands of women in pink took their breast cancer message right down the main drag. They were a strong, zealous presence, and I felt pangs of jealousy. The attention they bring to one type of cancer is immeasurable. Susan G. Komen’s Race for a Cure is known by everyone, and of course I want that cure for breast cancer patients, too. But I want hope even more for those without the cure. I want people to know that until there is a cure — or even any treatment at all for some cancers — if you or someone you know gets cancer, nothing is set in stone. There are no forgone conclusions. You will have twists and turns and even if you get the worst prognosis, you will probably confuse and maybe even beat the odds.

This is why we must be proud to be survivors. This is why I am jealous: Because I want to be walking down Michigan Ave, too, strong and zealous in my own bright color, bringing attention that you can survive, that this is life-changing and that cancer is something from which you can move forward. You can, you know. I am one purple shirt more of living, walking proof.

Maybe next year, you’ll all walk with me.

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25 Comments

  1. veronicastarr said,

    From a breast cancer survivor. Sorry about the pangs of jealousy, I get that. I have yet to throw on a pink survivor shirt, although I’m a fairly fresh survivor. I also had an inferiority complex about my cancer, or the fact that I had cancer, not sure which. Or I just didn’t want to be labeled with that pink ribbon. I think it’s part of being in the thick of the cancer roller coaster. Good for you for getting on that purple shirt, I’d walk beside you anytime! Congratulations on your engagement, your hair and your optimistic future!!

    • 52weeksofnew said,

      Thank you so, so much Veronica! For the comment and for making it public. I understand wanting to be private and not wanting to be labeled. I prefer to be, too. I thought the walking and stuff were too over-the-top and kinda vulgar, but then I decided that I didn’t want anyone to suffer through the hell I had, so I thought people should know that I am a survivor and that I am here, riding the train with you, shopping in your grocery store, living every day. It helps those who are newly diagnosed to know they are not alone. Hence the walk. I hope I see you soon, and congratulations on making it through. The next year will be an adjustment, so reach out to everyone, and feel free to reach out here!

  2. agardenfriend said,

    Congratulations on your purple shirt, your white-shirted best friend and all the wonderful hairs on your head! I’ve walked for all sorts of cures and would be proud to walk with you next year! No t-shirt required, just a willingness to bring your positive message to the public! You are quite a woman! And I’m sure your hair is AMAZINGLY beautiful!

  3. taylor said,

    celebrating with you for being a survivor!! can’t wait to walk alongside my mom this fall as she celebrates her own milestone.

  4. Club Dine In! said,

    It takes a lot of courage to voice your thoughts about your own battles such as cancer. Congratulations on everything and hope for your continued good well-being!

  5. dressingmyself said,

    Wow! I am so glad I clicked to read this! My Wonderful Husband has prostate cancer. Most people reacted to the news by saying “don’t worry, that’s an easy one to cure”. That reaction is not helpful to me, because it denies me an opportunity to say things like “I am scared”.
    It would do Wonderful Husband and myself a power of good to see a group of survivers!
    Actually, since he was diagnosed a number of men from that catagories of ‘almost friends’ have volunteered the information that they have had/still have prostate cancer – and that has been very helpful.
    I am so happy to read about somebody who has not only survived, but is in a very postitive place.

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  7. 52weeksofnew said,

    Thank you so much to WordPress.com and WordPress.com readers for all, all, all the support for (and therefore attention to) this blog and this cause.

  8. teax2 said,

    Your post is really hopeful and I have to say it cheered me up. Recent events in the news have been starting to get me down. To read positive and moving stories like this are what we all need.

  9. belleofthecarnival said,

    I’m glad I clicked on this post. You are an inspiration by surviving and spreading this positive message. Thank you for writing this post!

  10. gonzalezdj said,

    Thank you for information.

  11. Kaelee Morgan said,

    Thank you for such a positive post. You are an inspiration!

  12. Week 23: Walk for The Cured. « My Buddy said,

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  13. Ellen Hamilton said,

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your process and in such eloquent fashion. We all need messages of hope and the opportunity to see how amazing and strong is the human spirit and the body. I’m cheering for you.

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  15. slamdunk said,

    Thanks for posting about your perspective and cancer surival–it is inspiring.

  16. kobeant said,

    “This was not a walk to fight cancer or to raise funds but to fight hopelessness and raise awareness of one simple fact: We do survive. We — you — are more intractable than disease.”

    I’m inspired from it.
    Thanks.

  17. kmariej said,

    Congratulations. Seriously. Your courage and endurance are inspiring. I’m so proud of you and I love this post.
    You rock.

    xo
    Kelly

  18. Week 23: Walk for The Cured. | rssblogstory.com said,

  19. Week 23: Walk For The Cured. (via 52 Weeks of New) « Phypher56's Blog said,

    […] I love a day that starts out with me running product through my hair and not pulling out actual fists full in the process. The latter's enough to make anyone want to stay in bed, and that was me a year ago, just finished my fourth surgery for ovarian cancer and still feeling like shit. This morning, however, I pulled nothing out of my hair. All of it stayed in my head. It's a great celebration, considering yesterday I walked in the 17th … Read More […]

  20. Songbird said,

    What a beautiful event! I am so glad that you decided to complete the walk in the end. You are a great role model and a beacon of hope to so many people. I hope you continue your amazing recovery and all the best with your new job!

  21. Moranna said,

    Congratulations and best wishes for continuing improvement. You are the second brave lady I have been in contct with lately on a recovery journey. We actually did all the arranging of her wedding in Spain. Unfortunately she is still suffering hair loss but the Spanish hairdressers were wonderful: the sun shone gloriously and she, her husband and all the guests had a wonderful time. Cheers to to brave ladies.

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  23. Haberler said,

    this article is greate , very very nice ,this is beautiful.

  24. Fresh nude said,

    Wow! I am so glad I clicked to read this! My Wonderful Husband has prostate cancer. Most people reacted to the news by saying “don’t worry, that’s an easy one to cure”. That reaction is not helpful to me, because it denies me an opportunity to say things like “I am scared”.It would do Wonderful Husband and myself a power of good to see a group of survivers!Actually, since he was diagnosed a number of men from that catagories of ‘almost friends’ have volunteered the information that they have had/still have prostate cancer – and that has been very helpful.I am so happy to read about somebody who has not only survived, but is in a very postitive place.
    +1

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