TNT - Honore Hero Speech
Northside Kickoff - Winter 06’
Aug 10, 2006
Wow, what an Honor to be chosen to speak to this group tonight! I bet you’re looking at me and thinking “she doesn’t look sick at all…..” We’ll you are ½ correct. I feel wonderful, but I am not so fine on the inside. I’m living proof that you can have a incurable disease, Follicular Lymphoma - NHL, and still function normally at least for now. Let me share with you my story.
On Aug 4, 2004, I was out to dinner with some friends and I noticed I had a bump/lump in my neck. I thought this was kind of odd and immediately called the doctor the next morning. The doctor thought I had contracted a virus and put me on 10 days of antibiotics. Well, after 5 days, I saw no improvement and asked if there was something else to try. I was sent to see an Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist. They did a few tests and everything came up inconclusive – I thought that was good, based on what they told me. So they recommended that I wait and see if the lump went away on its own – I really didn’t like that answer, but I had to give it a shot. After a couple of weeks, I decided that I wanted the lump removed for my own piece of mind. That finally happened on Oct 13, 2004. On Oct 24, 2004 I got a call – the Doctor wants to see you…..
So, On Oct 26, 2004 - I went to see the doctor, mind you every other test / visit to the doctor I always took someone with me – I think subconsciously I knew something was wrong, but this time I went by myself - What was I thinking??? I got the dreaded news that I had Cancer. I sat there stunned - not able to think, speak or move – for those of you that don’t know me, if I’m not able to speak, something is definitely wrong. I finally left the doctor’s office about 20 minutes later and sat in my car and cried for about an hour before I called my parents. I hope none of you ever have to call your family with such horrible news. Eventually, I composed myself enough to drive home and figure out what to do for the rest of my life – at least that’s what it felt like.
Cancer (Follicular Lymphoma) – How can I have this, I feel fine, great even? There must be some mistake? Why me? What do I do now? How long do I have? I’m only 35…. Theses are just a few of the questions I asked – the others aren’t so polite!
So I have this incurable disease and I’m an odd one at that – you’re not supposed to get this type of cancer until you’re in your late 60’s – my body is wise beyond it’s years….
For this reason several oncologists suggested that I seek a full evaluation at the U of Texas’s MD Anderson Cancer Center – where unfortunately, the diagnosis was confirmed. However, the good news was, they didn’t find anything else.
I had 2 choices: 1) Do nothing at this time “Watch & Wait” or 2) Start chemo. Who wants to do chemo if you feel perfectly fine? The doctors all recommended that if I could mentally handle the “Watch & Wait” that would most likely be the best choice for me. Time in this instance is my best friend. The longer I can hold out the more likely that there will be a cure for my type of cancer. At least that’s what I’m banking on!
So, I applaud all of you signing up here today or even considering signing up - everybody can make a big difference. Whether you’re personally battling Blood Cancer, have a loved one or friend that is/was battling a Blood Cancer or for that matter any other cancer, your efforts do not go unnoticed or fall on deaf ears. I know that what we are doing here will help prolong my life and quality of life along with many others just like me. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society does so much to help patients and their families live better lives. Let’s work together to Run, Walk, Swim, Cycle, Hike, our way to a CURE!!
I’ll be seeing you out there – I’m not only a Honored Hero & Mentor, but a participant as well. I’ll be walking the Atlanta ½ on Turkey-day morning. This will be my 3rd ½ Marathon with TNT – what a great Family to be a part of – “GO TEAM”
Thank you for letting me share a little of my story with you this evening. “GO TEAM!!!”