It’s WORLD CANCER DAY!!! It’s a day to honor the lives of those who succumbed to it, but also a day to celebrate those who overcame it. It’s a day when we will try to fly the flag of hope for the future. Hope for better treatments, hope for more cures.
How many cancer awareness ribbons are there? SO many. Here are just a few:
- Clear, pearl or white: Lung Cancer
- Yellow: Bone Cancer
- Blue: Colon Cancer
- Orange: Leukemia
- Light Blue: Carcinoma, Prostate Cancer
- Lime green: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Purple: Testicular Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer
- Lavender: Cancer of all kinds
- Pink & Blue: Male Breast Cancer
- Gray: Brain Cancer
- Black: Melanoma
- Pink: Breast Cancer, Abdominal Cancer
- Green: Kidney Cancer
- Teal: Cervical Cancer, Ovarian Cancer
- Violet: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Gold: Childhood Cancer
- Burgundy: Oral Cancer
- Burgundy & Ivory: Head & Neck Cancer
Wow – so many colors… we will call it a rainbow of hope.
I’m not a stranger to cancer. My earliest memory of cancer was way back in the early 1970’s when my Aunt Frankie started writing letters to my mom about not feeling well. She thought she had the flu, but tests were done and an exploratory surgery revealed that she had cancer – to quote the doctors – “everywhere”. It was so advanced there was nothing they could do but keep her as comfortable as possible. My cousins lost their mother when she was only in her 50’s.
In the 1970’s Aunt Mary had radiation treatments for cancer but I don’t know what kind. I was still young enough that details were being kept from me. Aunt Bea had breast cancer that she fought and won a couple of times. My cousin fought thyroid cancer and will be on THRT (thyroid hormone replacement therapy) the rest of her life. My mom’s family seemed destined to get some form of cancer. I kept waiting for it to be my mother’s turn. When she was 81 she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. There was nothing they could do. I feel blessed to have had her until she was 82. I was surprised to lose my dad to cancer since he had no family history of it. In 1988 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and lived a few months. He was taken by a blood clot and not by the cancer at the age of 62.
The theme for World Cancer Day 2015 is NOT BEYOND US. A day of encouragement for everyone.
The point is, cancer is everywhere and we pray for better treatments that are not so radical. Some folks say the treatment is worse than the disease. The treatments do seem to get more tolerable as time goes by, but some chemo is still very rough to go through.
I keep hearing about the advancements in the testing. Cancer is being found in earlier stages now, which makes it better to fight, which gives a person better odds of survival. Some people survive it – I’m one of those very blessed individuals. Ovarian cancer is quite deadly if not caught in time. Once it spreads it is almost certainly fatal. I don’t take one day for granted and I make the best of every day I’m given. As I speak with other cancer survivors, I hear the same thing. Surviving cancer gives you a brand new perspective on life. I have a much shorter list of “bummers” than I did before. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore – there is no more small stuff. Cancer is the biggest bummer of all – and God saw fit to see me through it – so nothing else matters. Now – I live. Living is the goal and living cancer free is the greatest blessing. 🙂