Not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks for my health. That’s right. ‘Johnny Stage IV Bowel Cancer’ is grateful for his health – difficult surgeries, tough radiation zaps, nasty chemo blasts, and all! You should be too if you are able-bodied, active and engaged with others. Your good health is a gift!
I’ve learned a lot in my almost 3 years of cancer wrestling. Most surprising (to me), I learned that I’m not unique and I’m not alone in the cancer world. Almost 200,000 people a year are diagnosed with my type of cancer (colorectal). That was news to me! I had no idea this condition was so common. When you first get tossed onto cancer mountain, it is absolutely mind-numbing, dizzying, and really disorienting. Then, if you are very fortunate, you might be given the special opportunity and very precious gift of time. That’s what happened for me and I consider myself incredibly fortunate. My path over the past year or two has stabilized and I’ve been able to make great progress against my illness. I credit the amazing, wonderful world of support that quickly opened up before me on this sadly well-worn path of cancer-fighting. Family, friends, co-workers, fellow patients, resource groups, and my medical team stepped forward like angels to help carry me. It has been amazing. It has been humbling. And, it has been without question life-saving.
I share this for a couple of reasons. First, I’d like to help assure anyone recently diagnosed that there is amazing support all around you. You are not alone and there are many people and resources available to you no matter what type of cancer you have or what stage you find yourself battling. Second, I’d like to encourage all you healthy folks out there to reach out to the cancer fighters in your own circles. They are definitely there. I guarantee it – and they need your help.
Conquer Cancer ASCO Foundation estimates there are approximately 16 Million cancer survivors across United States right now, including patients currently receiving treatment. That was a stunning number to me when I first learned it – and so was the wide range of different cancers that one might encounter on cancer mountain.
Here they are as summarized by Choose Hope (PDF):
You can see this is a huge community, ranging from young and old to rare and common cancers. Every month of the year, with the exceptions August and December, there are national/global awareness events to help educate us all. Yet, every day, all year long, there are millions of people behind every one of these ribbons that would love your outreach and could be uplifted by your support. You’d be surprised at how much impact a short note, a quick call, or a simple errand, can help a friend or family member under the gun of cancer. So go ahead and reach out to that family member or friend battling cancer today. You don’t need to wait for their special month. They need you now and your support can help them keep rollin’.
I wish you and your family never, ever have to experience this awful journey. But if you do, I wish and hope you are supported by your own ‘team’ the same way I’m supported by my “Team Crafty”. I know they will keep you strong and they carry you when you need it most.
Be safe. Be smart.
Get educated. Get screened.
Support cancer research – and remember to #WearAMask !
COVID-19 is presenting a new world of challenges for cancer patients. Here are few reference articles I’ve collected that might be helpful to you and those in your circle coping with the all the uncertainties:
- Cancer Care During COVID-19 – ASCO | American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Common Questions About COVID-19 Outbreak – ACS | American Cancer Society
- Fearing the Deadly Combo of COVID-19 and Cancer – KHN | Kaiser Health News
Some pictures from the road …