My husband and I went to the Relay for Life in Courtenay. Four years ago he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Twenty-three years ago I had colon cancer. My husband is on chemo and will be for the rest of his life. This is no cure for bone cancer – not yet. I was on chemo for over a year. My husband had a stem cell transplant and it was more than two years before the bone cancer returned. I had three major surgeries to remove tumors and to clear my intestines when adhesions set in. But after five years I celebrated being cancer free.
All these thoughts rushed through my memory at the Relay for Life. I was struggling as my husband and I began the first lap of the Relay, known as the Survivor’s Lap.
Tears flooded my cheeks as I recalled the stench of chemo, the vomit, the muscle weakness, the dependence on others, the insipid taste of the medications, the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes and the bald head, the fatigue, the relentless churning in my stomach, the nerve pain…
These images were interrupted by the sound of applause! As my husband and I continued to walk, I noticed these people cheering us on. They lined the interior of the track. As we passed they yelled and smiled and clapped and shouted words of triumph!
They were cheering for us! They were encouraging the survivors.
My left hand held my husband’s and my right hand clasped a friend’s. I raised their arms with mine. I raised them to the sky. We are survivors. We are winning!