Before Vanessa's diagnoses, Cancer was something I heard about all the time on the news, but really knew nothing about or how many it actually affected. It was crazy, within months of her diagnosis I learned of so many more cases, from people I actually knew.
Ron Reed, my engineer from the Fire Department. He came to work one morning and went to use the rest room. He came out and told the captain he had just pissed blood. Dave told him to leave work right away and go to the doctor. Dave told Ron this happened to someone in his family, and it turned out to be cancer. Ron went to see the doctor and sure enough, it was Cancer. Ron was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma and givin a prognosis of five years to live. Ron faught a hard battle, and passed away this current year in 2011.
Then I learned of an old friend from high school, Sandra Gronley. Sandra had a husband diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, and then shortly after... her daughter of only 5 years of age was diagnosed with Leukemia. I mean... WTF.... two people in her family.. are you freakin kidding me? Now this case has baffled me and is on my mind a lot. Lymphoma and Leukemia are very tightly linked Cancers. As far as Cancer goes, Lymphoma and Leukemia could be sisters. So yeah, I am curious, what caused the Cancer in Sandra's husband, and in her daughter? There has to be something genetic, there must be something that would be detectible to know if the gene is running in a family... what is the link? How do we stop this from happening? Today I am happy to say that Sandra's husband continues to be Cancer free after his battle, and her daughter is also Cancer free! Thank you God!
After shaving my head I met yet another person. I was working one night at the Country Club. I was taking care of Mr. and Mrs. Kenny. Mrs. Kenny noticed my bald head with a scarf around it, and a lime green ribbon pinned to my appron. She asked why I wore the ribbon. I explained Vanessa to her, and then she told me that she herself was fighting Cancer. Mrs. Kenny was also a patient at City of Hope. Over the months to come Mrs. Kenny gave me more knowledge and advice then any one could ever know. She donated several wigs and hats to Vanessa and always asked me about Vanessa's current condition. Mrs. Kenny had faught Cervical Cancer. She is now a survivor!
Mrs. Weston. She was also a member of the Country Club, and was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she also went through a very hard fight. Mrs. Weston loved the fact that I shaved my head, and we soon became close sharing all the details of Cancer with each other. I am also proud to say that Mrs. Weston is a Cancer Survior.
Winni Strut, also a member of the Country Club. Winni and her husband Dave were members I was already close with because of my friend and co-worker Rowena. Winni has been fighting lung cancer for many many years. She is a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart. Again, so supportive of me shaving my head. She also donated some hats to both Vanessa and I. Today, Winni continues to fight Cancer.
Sandy Watson, my long time neighbor of mine and also member of the Country Club. I just learned of her diagnosis with Lung Cancer and have yet to fallow up.
Another high school class mate, Tory Ward. Tory was diagnosed with Primary Angionsarcoma of the Breast Cancer this year of 2011. From what I have learned from fallowing her posts on Facebook, is that she is one strong girl, and I know she will beat this Cancer!
Jennifer Dunlop: I met Jenny before Vanessa was diagnosed. I did not know Jenny during her battle of Cancer. However today, she still has labs drawn to make sure she is clear. Jenny is a survivor of stage 4 Melenoma Skin Cancer.
Chrissie Riley, Jennifers Sister had been diagnoes with Colon Cancer. Again, is there somehow a link? Two different Cancers, but Cancer is Cancer. Two sisters, each affected by Cancer... what is the link here? Chrissie is also a survior today of Cancer.
An old friend of mine, Robyn Thomas. Her Grandmother was diagnoes with Colon Cancer. Today she is also in remission.
Frannie Tassone, a member from the country club. For many years I baby sat the Frannie and Stephen's children while they would visit the mountain. There was one year that I had not seen the Tassone family in several months. It was unlike this family to not be in the mountains during the golf season. I later learned Frannie had been Diagnosed with rectal Cancer. Today, she is a survivor.
So I know 13 people who are either fighting Cancer, have faught Cancer, or have passed away from Cancer. I feel like 13 is an awfully high number... Do you know 13 people with Cancer? Knowing 13 people who have had to go through this terrible disease is way too many. This is truly an epidemic.
Check out this Link to the American caner Society. The data shows how many people in the United States alone were living with Cancer in the year 2008. The numbers are shocking. So What do we do to prevent this. How do we stop Cancer from taking over. Surely there must be a way, and part of it starts in the way we live.