My friend Mary is a role model and inspiration to me. Twelve years after her original breast cancer diagnosis, the cancer came back in her lungs. A series of chemotherapy (Taxotere) shrunk the tumors and they have stayed stable (no growth) for well over a year.
While she was going through chemo, Mary and I went on a winter camping trip (in a yurt) with a group of friends in Algonquin Park. I remember cross-country skiing with her on that trip and thinking: If my cancer ever came back I hope to hell that I could handle it as well as she has. Little did I know that I would soon join her…
Since then, Mary spent a month downhill skiing out west, continued dragon boating (with or without hair), paddled in festivals (one in Singapore!), participated in winter training classes, continued to come out to walk/run with our Saturday morning group, went on a bicycle trip in Europe with her husband Eric, and has continued to live her life with style and courage. I like to say that Mary is a perfect blend of classy lady and tough broad.
When the cancer recently appeared in her hip, Mary was reluctant to tell me because we both know that whatever happens to her, there’s a possibility that I will eventually follow. I’ve assured her that she doesn’t have to protect me – that she’s not my role model because I think she had a miracle cure or because I think she’ll live forever, but rather because of how fully she is living her live, despite the cancer.
Understandably, Mary has spent some time ‘on the dark side’, as I call it, but she picks herself up and dusts herself off and gets on with her life. In the picture above she is showing off her FUCK CANCER gloves and slippers (an idea I stole off of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips website, http://crazysexycancer.com/ -- I like that message better than pink ribbons). The picture was taken on the evening of her first radiation treatment on her hip.
Today is the last of 5 rounds of radiation for Mary. Yahoo! I hope the radiation blasted the hell out of that nasty stuff in her hip. Fuck cancer!!!