Since I originally posted this blog at on May 16, 2010 my Mom has been gone for just over a year, my friend Marty is surviving and doing well, and other friends have been diagnosed. While I will mark 8 years of Warriorship/Survivorship this Aug. 27th and am healthy I still battle on for all in this fight.

Back in 2008 I had the honor of speaking at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Lower Fox Valley. I had a time limit on how long I could talk, suppose that was a good thing, otherwise I’m sure I would have had more to say.  I tried to hit it as best I could.

Here I am 2 years later, still surviving, my Mom’s still fighting, I have lost another wonderful dear friend, Sandy and there has been another diagnosis of Oral cancer to a member and friend of mine from my Church. Seems a shame not to share my speech again as I approach the 2010 Relay that will be held June 18 and 19 at Yorkville High school.

I Relay for me! On August 27th, 2004 my Doctor sat down in front of me, as close as he could get without physically touching me, looked me in the eye and told me it was cancer. If I hadn’t felt so sorry for myself I might have felt sorry for him having to tell me. To say this news was devastating was an understatement, and most of you know exactly how I felt that day, you’ve been there either as the Survivor or the loved one with a shoulder to lean on.

My diagnosis was Stage IV Tonsil Cancer. It had attacked my right tonsil and I’m kinda wishin I had those out when I was a kid! And the cancer had also spread to the lymph nodes.

My youngest son, Aden was just 2 years old. I kept thinking about Aden having to grow up without me. That I wouldn’t be there to see him off to his first day of Kindergarten or watch him ride his bike for the very first time. I thought about not being there for my older children, Halie and Levi, who were so close to being grown up but in my eyes not quite there. Who would tell them what to do with their lives!

And so I prepared my “In Case I don’t” notebook, I wrote down the last words I wanted my husband Keith and my 3 children to “hear” from me. I wrote down the songs I wanted at my funeral, the poems I wanted spoken, I wrote a letter to the people who might be at my funeral. I even had a woman chosen for my husband, who I knew would love Aden. Even during this most sorrowful time in my life I wanted it organized!

I Relay for my Mom, who was diagnosed with cancer just 3 weeks before my diagnosis and once again this past October she had a recurrence and we started up the Battle cry again. “Not yet! PLEASE Not yet!”

I Relay for my Grandpa Emmett, my Aunt Marlene and my Uncle Lloyd, whom cancer took from me. I Relay for so many other family members who have had this horrible nightmare, many who have lost their lives as well.

I relay for my friend Kim who no longer stands beside me, but who’s memory is forever etched on my heart. RIP my sweet Kim. You died too young and struggled so hard.

Every day I’m here, to be with my family, to live life, to JUST breath, is a blessed gift, I don’t take for granted, and so I fight back every day I’m here. I fight back by participating in the Relay for Life, asking for donations when before Cancer I would not have had the courage to do that. I fight back because I HOPE!

After almost 4 years since my diagnosis I have survived. I have had the tearful honor of seeing my now 5 year old get on and off the bus for his first and last day of Kindergarten. I have the privilege of watching him whiz around my driveway on his two wheel bike. My two older children have flown the coop but I’ll probably always share my advice, whether they listen or not!

And my “In Case I Don’t….. Notebook” well it has made it’s way to the bottom of the drawer instead of the top shelf of the dresser. My heart will always remain scarred from the losses I have suffered. But each year I have the Relay to give me HOPE! Because if I’m still Relaying, I’m still here fighting for one more person, not to hear the words, “It’s Cancer”.


About jlturtlerunner

12 plus Years Surviving Stage IV Oral Cancer. I have become a "Turtle" runner since that diagnosis, as a way of saying, "Take That Sucker!" After 12 years of being a Turtle Runner, I'm adding a new title, Turtle Rucker!

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