Monday, October 06, 2014

RACE FOR THE CURE & MY OWN CANCER FEARS

This past weekend I attended my first Race for the Cure.  I worked the event as a part of all the Central AR CFAs helping to sponsor it.  We had a herd of cows, 3 large inflatable cows and dropped mini-cows from the top of a parking garage.  I was supposed to take pictures of it all, so I did a lot of running around and got to see a bit of everything.

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As I took pictures, I took in a lot of other things as well.  I ended up being teary eyed through much of the event.  I'm sure that I was set off more easily by the fact that I had had about 4 hours of sleep and a wild week.  But, it was very moving, and I probably would have felt emotional on a full night of sleep.

At one point in the race, there were men announcing survivors as they passed by.  They would say, "Here comes a 5 year survivor.  And here's a 21 year survivor, and everyone cheer for the 3 week survivor."  The sheer number of people participating was a bit staggering, and I was reminded of how many people breast cancer touches.  It was easily one of the most diverse events that I've ever been a part of in many ways, because cancer does not discriminate.  We also helped to host the Survivor parade after the official race, and seeing those women and their smiles and joy was really a privilege.  I oscillated between snapping pictures and putting down my camera to clap.

As I reflected on the morning, I realized that the shadow of cancer has been ever-present over my own life.  My grandmother died from breast cancer when my father was 13.  My mother's father had a brain tumor and passed away when she was 5.  My dad died of pancreatic cancer when I was 23.  There is a clear family history of deadly cancer at a fairly young age, and I have always known it.  Never meeting half of my grandparents really drove that fact home early.

For better and for worse, I have often assumed that I would be diagnosed with cancer at some point.  We took out an extra cancer insurance policy on me years ago to be cautious.  I intend to start certain screenings early and be mindful of anything really unusual.  But, the reality is that I cannot predict any of the when/if/what kind of cancer concerns that come to mind.  It may be never.  Or, it may be next week - though I sure hope not.

When my dad was diagnosed, I remember him telling me that the diagnosis did not catch God off guard.  That God knew from the beginning of time how many years, days and hours my earthly father would get (Job 14:5), and that it would be good.  This did give me comfort at the time, and over the years, I have never forgotten it.  Nothing is a surprise to God.

So, when I am tempted to fear the cancer possibilities in my future, I have to remind myself that God is in control.  My days are numbered by him ahead of time, and it will be for my good and his glory.  Always.  God would fill in the gaps for John and the kids if I had to leave them earlier than I want to, just like he's filled in gaps in my own life where my dad used to be.

All of that said, I do hope and pray that strides are made to help prevent and cure cancer, because it is vicious.  Though it was my first Race for the Cure, it won't be my last.

3 comments:

Carmen Smith said...

You've got to run it sometime. It's a crowded race, but it's so amazing. I've ran it every year since 06 (except for 13, when I was 3 weeks postpartum) and it is hands down my favorite 5k. The feelings you get seeing all the people in the 3 miles of men cheering and standing together... chills and tears!!! And you're right about the diversity. There is something so moving about all those people coming together.

Carol Spenst said...

Maybe next year! It really was amazing.

Carol Spenst said...

I have considered it and may do so - honestly, I just haven't done the research yet. It's definitely something I'll discuss with my doc!