Relay for Life
By Beverly Hicks Burch
It happened the first time when I was 28 years old and the mother of an eighteen month old tyke. I was told the absolutely impossible and unthinkable. I had a tumor on my right lung. How could that be? I had never smoked, wasn’t raised around smokers, therefore no second hand smoke exposure, and there was no history of lung cancer in my family. How?! I screamed to the Heavens and asked God.
After three months of “observation” the tumor was removed and in the process was determined that, yes indeed it was a low-grade cancer as my thoracic surgeon put it.
I was very young then obsessed with stopping time, age, illness and anything else I could. I starved myself for years. Yes, I was diagnosed, as the doctored put it as at least “border-line” anorexic. At 5’ 5” I was less than 100 pounds at one point, so what do you think?
I often wonder if that was the “trigger” for many of my autoimmune disorders, although I have to say, I’ve never been a robustly healthy person…even as a child. With me it’s like deciding which came first, the chicken or the egg…the autoimmune disorders, the cancer, etc. And autoimmune disorders do cluster in my family and cancer has visited kin more than I would care to remember.
But, I did bounce back fairly well after that first cancer…for a short time. Until the Pandora’s Box opened and everything else started going askew. My point is I did seem to mend after that first surgery. I was determined I would. I had a baby I adored!
Then in 1995 I started feeling more “poopy” as I call it, than normal. You see, with autoimmune disorders you never feel really good…you always feel like something’s wrong…it’s like living with constant flu or in Jell-o slowing you down. I could give you 100 different descriptions…and they would all fit any given moment…but, this was different. I felt like a Dead Gal Walking.
Well, off to the doc again and once again, there was “something” on Bev’s lung…this time the left lung. Long story short, the Big C had returned…with a vengeance. Sixty percent of my left lung was removed…yes that was 60%. The second time around, recovery was not quite as easy…not that it was the first time, but this time…oh, my.
Since then my Dad went through a scare of prostate cancer about two years after my last lung cancer. We are so blessed to still have him because he lost his oldest brother to the very same disease a few short years before Daddy was diagnosed. Daddy was very proactive…did I mention he was a Project Manager? *chuckle* That’s my Daddy…and it paid of in spades…and valuable years.
My Tall & Handsome’s Mom is a breast cancer survivor. This is a very survivable cancer now thanks in part to education, research and new discoveries.
There’s still work to be done. I lost a friend in the 1990’s to melanoma. She was young, fair headed, fair skin and in her 30’s. She had a mole on her back. One day she was there…a few months later, after a valiant struggle…she was gone. It shouldn’t have happened.
This Friday night I will be doing something. My ol’ joints may not let me go far…but how ever much I can do, I’m going to do it…and that’s Relay For Life. That’s the annual fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. This will be my second event and it’s heartwarming to see survivors and their supports walking for life. So, this Friday night, think of Bev as she walks…this is one relay and one baton we can’t drop…
Bev’s Relay Site:
or the Teams’ Site
© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved