I HATE cancer.
No other words I could ever say could appropriately describe how I feel about this disease. I hate it. I hate that it exists. I hate the fear it invokes when people say the word. I hate that it rips families apart and makes them hurt and grieve. I hate that it takes loved ones away--before we're ready to let them go. I hate that it took my Peepaw. I hate that colon cancer took him too soon and I only got 14 years with him. I hate that it made him hurt. I hate that, if I want to see him, I have to look at a picture instead of going to his house to see his face. I hate that cancer is the reason Peepaw didn't get to see my high school graduation. My tenure as a Kentucky FFA State Officer. My college diploma. I hate that, because of cancer, I had to light a memory candle for him at my wedding instead of having him sit by my beautiful Meemaw and witness it all. I hate that cancer didn't allow him to meet my husband. Or my daughter, Avery. I hate that, because of cancer, I'll never hear him laugh again. Never see him in his Sheriff's uniform again. Never feel his all-encompassing hugs again. I hate that cancer is the reason that I'm crying while writing this post. I. Hate. Cancer.
I'm not one to question God. I know there's a bigger plan and that it isn't my place to understand it all. I know that He doesn't MAKE bad things happen, but he does allow them. Even as a Christian and having faith that God has a purpose for everything that happens in this world, I struggle daily with the existence of cancer. I struggle with finding the good in the story of 13 year old Lane that had cancer for 3 years and still lost his battle in the end. I struggle with comprehending why God would allow a three year old to battle cancer and lose. I don't understand it. One thing remains true, however: we have ALL felt cancer's touch. You may not have lost a loved one, but you've known someone that's had it: a co-worker. A friend's family member. A fellow church goer. An aquantaince. A random story on Facebook that you stumbled upon and it changed your life forever. Whether they were close to you or not, you've been affected by cancer. This breaks my heart. What other disease in this world has touched so many people?
Cancer gives us a reason to celebrate...but not in the way you're thinking. We celebrate those who have WON. Who have faced cancer and beat it. We celebrate those people that are still here with us and who wear the badge of "Survivor."
Cancer gives us a reason to remember. We remember all those people, like my Peepaw, who lost their battle. Whose memories and laughter are still with us, even if they aren't.
Cancer gives us a reason to fight back. I'm so tired of sitting by and listening to people rattle off a list of more individuals that I know that have found out they have cancer. SICK OF IT. There's no reason that I shouldn't be able to do something about this. So I'm fighting back. I'm a member of a Relay for Life team that raises money to help people know how to stay well. To know that you need to get your screenings and colonoscopies and mammograms done at a certain age (sooner if you have a family history of cancer). I raise money to help people get well. Did you know that the Breast Cancer Death Rate is down 33% since 1990? That's because of people like me that donate to the American Cancer Society to fund research and find cures. Mostly as a Relayer though, I just want to fight back. I want to show cancer that I'm not helpless. I lost a loved one, but that doesn't mean that I want this disease to take others I love as well. I FIGHT BACK for my mom, my daughter, my future grandchildren. I FIGHT BACK so others don't have to hear that their loved one has cancer. I FIGHT BACK for that 14 year old, just like I once was, so she doesn't have to lose her grandfather to this terrible disease.
I HATE cancer. And I'm doing something about it.