Many of my friends know how dear relay for life is to me. They know that I relay for my mother in law, Linda Flye, who was taken from us too early. She was an amazing mother, grandmother, and friend. They know I relay for my grandfather, Orrie Hitt... who was also taken early after battling lung cancer. I relay for my dear friend, Deryck. He passed away earlier this year after a long hard battle, and AGAIN he was taken WAY to early... I relay for my aunt Peggy. She passed away this last month after battling lung cancer. Again, she was taken way to early....
My life was forever blessed because of my loved ones above, but it has also been changed for the better (ah, now I have the "Wicked" soundtrack running through my head, great music- FYI). I want to help find a cure. Make it so other people don't lose like I have.
I relay for myself.
My personal story is not one of cancer... YET. That is the hardest part for me. A little over a year ago, I started to get very sick. Lost a ton of weight, and after three months of doctor visits, MRIs, catscans, blood draws, iron infusions, and six specialist, they found a multitude of issues. FIRST, I had MALS (median arcuate ligament syndrom)- a rare disorder where a ligament is tightly wrapped around an artery by your heart causing all kinds of problems... then they found tumors, polyps, cysts.... It was overwhelming. The first tumor was on my adrenal gland and it was 3 times the size of the gland itself. They found cysts in my hip, big toe, and wrist. Polyps in my lungs (three to be exact) and cysts in my ovaries.
A bit overwhelming for this mom of many. I underwent surgery at the University of Iowa in June of 2011 to correct the artery issue and have the tumor along with my left adrenal gland removed. I spent a lot of nights talking about how it is NOT fair. But, I was hard on myself in my 20s and early 30s. I had a horrible diet, I smoked like a fiend and I didn't really think about WHAT I was doing to myself. I wish I could rewind, but I cannot. Instead I have to move forward.
I have polyps on my lung. Three. Every six months I have to go and have another catscan...another visit with a specialist. Another time holding my breath to see if the polyps have grown and if they are the C word. If you do this for two years straight and they don't grow... you are considered in the clear and the polyps will most likely NOT develop into cancer. If they do change in size or color then you probably have cancer.
I have one year down and still cancer free. I am thankful to a mighty God who watches over me. I am also thankful for research. For if there wasn't money put into cancer research, my doctors wouldn't be concerned about the "polyps"... I wouldn't be seeing the specialist every six months and having a catscan. I wouldn't know what an important preventative measure the catscans are, and how they can save my life. Early detection. That is what saves lives.
So, that is why I relay. I relay to raise money so that research can be done. Research that can save lives.
If you have lost someone to cancer, been a caregiver to someone with cancer, are a cancer survivor yourself... get out and RELAY. It is one of the most amazing events ever to come together for one night...one cause, because together we can fight back.
If you would like to donate, our relay for life team is DahFeet (silly, but we wanna dah-feeet cancer) and we participate in the Linn County IA relay for life (being held on June 1st and 2nd). If you are in Cedar Rapids, come and relay with us.
If you want to donate, the site to our relay event is below... any amount is great! You can donate it to Relay under our team name (DahFeet). http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLFY12MW?pg=entry&fr_id=38638
Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.