Friday, August 30, 2013

Cancer...On My Terms

I decided to give the old blog a face lift, and I decided to change the subtitle from Treatment saved me from cancer, running saved me from treatment. I'm in a very different place in my life than I was when I started Hope, Love, Run, and I decided to change the appearance and subtitle to reflect that. I originally started this blog to understand what cancer did to me, who I was as a result, and to share my story with the hope of having a positive impact on someone- anyone- so that something positive could come out of what devastated my life.

Flash forward a couple years...I essentially walked away from the blog and cancer for a while because I was finally able to embrace my life without the constant opression of cancer and all its aftermath- which was amazing. While I have yet to have a day in which I do not think of cancer, it is often on the periphery; white noise in the background of my gloriously mundane life.

I knew this day would come, but I also knew for a long time that I wasn't ready to do this. With the place I am in my life now, I am finally ready to directly use my experience to give back. Essentially I am choosing to engage with the cancer world, but this time it's my choice and on my own terms.

About a million years ago, several months after I returned from my first trip to Camp Mak-A-Dream, I reached out to one of the long-term survivors I met there following the death of another girl we met at CMAD. It was the first time someone I knew passed as a result of cancer. She was twenty-six. Some of the wisdom of the long-term survivor was this:

...In January I will celebrate 16 years of being cancer free. Every day of these sixteen years, I have thought about cancer. I expect I will be thinking about it for the next sixteen. You have to come to an understanding with cancer. I can't tell you how to do that, or what your understanding will be, but you have to get to that place where you can think about what you've survived, view it like a race you've won, and know you're here so you can be someone else's trainer...

I've reached my understanding with cancer, and through registering with Imerman Angels, I now have the opportunity to be someone else's 'trainer'. While it makes me remember many of the experiences that were painful, it also gives new purpose and value what I once viewed as the single worst thing that ever happened to me. And that? That is beautiful.

Hope, Love, Run,
JCW

A Note about Imerman Angels:

Imerman Angels carefully matches a person touched by cancer with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Additionally, personalized matches are provided for cancer caregivers (family and friends of fighters) to benefit from other experienced caregivers. These relationships provide hope and comfort from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. This personalized matching service is absolutely free and is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world.
Imerman Angels is a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

Mission

Imerman Angels provides personalized connections that enable 1-on-1 support among cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers.
http://www.imermanangels.org/



1 comment:

  1. Dear Marathon Girl,

    As a cancer survivor myself, I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I enjoyed this post. I completely identified with it. You gave voice to all the reasons I took a break from my blog, "Life Has a New Perspective." Kudos to you for your battle over The Dragon and now having the compassion to help others move through their battle. May every person touched by cancer be as lucky as you and I in overcoming it.

    Much love,
    Tamara Slater

    ReplyDelete