As many of you know, I recently had a bout with cancer. I am now in full remission, and looking to assemble a team for the Ride for Roswell on June 22nd! Here is my story...
It was the summer of 2018, and things had never been better. After all the difficulties of the previous few years, Home was now peaceful, and the yard was filled with laughter - from my daughter, her friends, my friends...it didn’t seem real that life could have gone from so bad to so good so quickly. Every time I mowed the lawn, there were remnants of the most recent water-balloon fight, serving as a reminder of the fun we’d had, and it seemed like there was always a reason to cook on the grill. I thanked God every day and tried to soak it all in.
And then the mirror showed an egg-sized lump protruding from my neck. There was a swollen lymph node from a cold a few months prior, but this? This was huge! The doctor spent about five seconds examining it, and said, “get to Roswell.”
Turns out that tumor had some friends, dozens of them, and that he wasn’t even the biggest of them all - not by a long shot. Tumors were everywhere, ranging in size from a marble to a softball. In August, the doctors at Roswell gave the diagnosis: stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma. With treatment, there was a 50/50 chance of surviving five years. Without treatment, this best summer would most likely be the last summer of my life.
No more water balloon fights.
No more friends to cook for on the grill.
It was so embarrassing. It felt okay to tell a few people, but to admit it publicly was out of the question. The hard part was seeing people out and about.
“Hey, how are you doing?”
What did they mean by that? Do they know? Is honesty the best policy? What is the social norm in this situation?
It was decision time. Prayers changed from “God, please give the doctors wisdom and provide an accurate diagnosis” to “Lord, are you calling me home?” The answer came quickly -
“I Am calling you to fight.”
Romans 8:31 says that if God is for us, who can stand against us? Not cancer, that’s for sure.
There’s never a good time to find out you have cancer, but it became very clear very quickly that there had never been a time that I was better equipped to deal with it, because support came like you’d never imagine. Prayers, letters, cards, donations so Desiree and I could order out if cooking wasn’t an option; gift cards to Wegmans so that groceries could be delivered when I was too sick to go out in public, and so much food the refrigerator couldn’t hold it all! Any time I needed a ride, a ride was available. When I needed to talk, there was a friend to lend an ear. And when I could receive visitors, there was always someone to come over for coffee, a game of chess, a conversation…
Now that remission has been achieved, it’s time to do something for those who are still fighting. That’s why we’re riding - for those who can’t. That’s why we raise money - to make sure that those who are still fighting can have the treatments and supports they need.
Nobody truly goes it alone. Together, we can be stronger than cancer.