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Confused about Relay for Life......

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

So on friday I walked the survivor lap at a Relay for Life. I went with a young woman that I met at school who was treated for breast cancer 8yrs ago and wanted to go but is new in the area and had no one to go with. She asked me to walk with her, so I did. As I walked and saw all the smiling proud faces of the people clapping on the sides I felt, for lack of a better word confused. I went to the doctor, was diagnosed, given a treatment plan, yes I DID suffer, I got better, and now I walk a lap and they all clap for me ????????? I personally never felt it was my choice to survive or not, it was a gift that I received....and my gratitude and thanks to God is deep. I felt sort of undeserving of their clapping, like although the journey to health was difficult, again, it was my only choice to follow the plan. I don't think I ever contemplated failure. I don't feel like a warrior, fighter, etc. If someone can help me to see what I'm missing here, please do. This woman I was with seemed different than me. She held her head high and strong and breathed in all the congratulations. I pride myself on doing GREAT now, but I'm wondering if I'm supposed to be feeling something different. I am supposed to meet some friends at another relay in a couple weeks but not sure if I'll do the survivor lap or not. We have a local band playing at it with a young man that was one of my favorite students when I worked at school in it and he wants me to be there. What does survivor mean anyhow????

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Survivor means everything to me. It is really the doctors, nurses,, and scientists who should get the applause. I agree with you that all the glory and thanks goes to God. People are funny. Whatever gets them to give money to research to find a cure for this hellish disease is what we have to do. If I can put a face on cancer so some of my wealthy friends want to give money to fund research for my rare cancers, so be it. Last year I walked in memory of my best friend who only lasted 4 months after her diagnosis. She suffered so much, but did everything she could to survive. She left 2 beautiful children. What we do is make cancer personal. There must be a cure soon!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

I am so very grateful to be a survivor.  However, the relay that was held in my town in May following the end of my treatment the previous September is the only one I ever attended.  While I think the money raised is a great thing, I found no comfort in attending the event, or had any other emotions.  When it was over, I looked at my husband and told him I would not go to another one and I haven't.  The only thing that touched me that evening was knowing that a friend of mine in Connecticut did a luminary in my name at his local relay.  Perhaps I was expecting more.  I just didn't seem to get anything out of it. 

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 513
Joined: Jun 2011

Thank you so much for posting this. I think I understand what you are saying, eihtak. I never thought I was 'special' just because I had cancer. It's a wonderful thing that we came through the treatment and all, but I don't feel the need for people to clap for me. My mom has withstood much more pain and suffering with arthritis and back problems than I ever did, both during and after the cancer diagnosis. It might be that cancer is so scary for people that those who haven't had it consider us who have to be a special breed. Maybe that's true - I don't know. Almost everyone knows someone who has had cancer and has been affected by it. So many folks don't survive it. My take on the whole thing is that if people think you're something special because of having survived cancer, let them do so - that's not a bad thing. We who are humbled by the experience will always be so. I'm not explaining this correctly - it's very difficult to put into words how the whole thing has made me feel about things. You're not wrong for being confused about the whole thing - I am still.

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

A special breed, I like that! Someone else told me they clap because they see God working through us. We were chosen so to speak.......something to think about.

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

Thank you both. The fact that I have survived and am thriving means the world to me also. I am having a hard time putting my confusion into words on the whole survivor lap thing, sorry. I am all for whatever it takes to raise money needed for research to rid this horrible disease from our world, and if it means me walking in a relay I'm in. I have been doing it for years in honor of my mom and others, but this year the survivor lap just affected me in a strange way?????

This is an emotional week in our community. A close friends baby turns 1 tomorrow. He was diagnosed at 2months with a form of lukiemia, and from that day this poor young family has been sent across the country to several hospitals for treatment. Just as soon as there was hope for a life saving transplant something would cause a set back. Finally on friday St Judes said enough, there was nothing more to do. The lukiemia cells are rapidly growing in his brain and spinal cavity and the family has come home. There is a candle lite vigil for the baby tomorrow eve for his birthday. This is a small community and we are all like family so has had an effect on us all. You can follow his story if you search SavingTreydon (look for His Story)

When I read about situations like these, the suffering I endured (although I have used the terms brutal and barbaric) just don't put me in the same boat.

We ARE survivors, thrivers, fighters, ......... but cancer just confuses me??????? 

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

That poor family! I would suffer any pain and indignity, but I could not see my child suffer.

I know just what you mean about cancer and confusion. My mind is now in a state of total craziness!

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

How sad for that baby and family.  Cancer is such a cruel disease, but especially so when it strikes a young child. 

I think cancer is very confusing.  I often think of the HPV connection to anal cancer and how some people who brag about all of their sexual conquests live their entire lives without getting an HPV-related cancer.  If you pay attention to the numbers, chances are very good that such people have HPV.  So how is it that so many of us who haven't made a career of hopping into bed with everyone we meet for casual sex get this freaking disease?  I'll never understand it.

Cancer--the most confusing and misunderstood thing ever!

Phoebesnow
Posts: 453
Joined: Apr 2011

Maybe the name should be changed to the victory lap.  That is what is really being celebrated. It is not about how u played the game, but the outcome.  Victory u lived.  What u r doing when u do this lap is giving hope to all the others and their families that it can be done, it can be beaten or beaten back.  You are giving people hope.  It is not about the survivors but all the people who want to be one and all the families who want their lovedcone to be a survivor.

eihtak
Posts: 887
Joined: Oct 2011

Thats a great way to look at it. The next time I do one I will keep that in mind and think "victory".........you are right, it does give others hope to see that so many have made it.

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 513
Joined: Jun 2011

I never thought about it that way - thanks!

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Yes, so true! Hope, money for research, and education is the way to beat this disease!

TraceyUSA
Posts: 153
Joined: May 2013

I have ask myself the same things about HPV.  It seems that most of us have lived a fairly healthy lifestyle and yet ended up with HPV that doesn't cure itself as I told it does in other people.  It bothers me that there is no cure or treatment for those of us with HPV.  I worry that this virus will cause more cancers in my body and there's nothing I can do to prevent that from happening.  I'm glad that there is now a vaccine for the new generation but wish there was something for us too.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 3120
Joined: Jan 2010

I believe the best hope for people who know they have HPV already is the development of a therapeutic vaccine.  I don't know if that's in the near future or not, but we can hope!

sandysp's picture
sandysp
Posts: 852
Joined: May 2011

That's what I am hoping the future holds so people won't have to go through what we went through.

Fondly,

Sandy

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