Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why I Care

So, as promised, my story as to why I care so much about raising money for the Susan G Komen Foundation.... Around Christmas about 8ish years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time, I hadn't ever actually known anyone who had had breast cancer or really anything about it. Also, at that time, I didn't have a really close relationship with my grandmother - because she was my step-grandmother (silly, I know). Anyhow, that diagnosis was a big hit for our family. We'd never really had anything like that happen before to us (that I was aware of). Now, my grandma is a tough bird. At the time, she was still working for the Post Office and had made a name for herself in our county. You see, she was the first female postal worker in our county that had taken a huge walking route. Her route was a total of 17ish miles. She had to walk that every single day - just so that we'd all get our mail. Now, when she first said something to her boss, he had told her that he didn't doubt that she'd quit just like everyone else... Well, that ticked my grandmother off. She was not going to quit! Maybe all those men had quit, but SHE was not going to quit that route! So, she stayed with it and a few years back she retired from the post office. Now, she didn't walk that route the whole entire time, someone finally gave her a nice postal car thing a few years ago... But 95% of the time she had that route, she had walked the Arkansas hot and humid summers, the unpredictable rain, sleet, and sometimes snow. Like I said, she's a tough bird.

Well, when this hit, I saw my grandma as someone that could possibly be brought down. But, she showed us differently (as always) and showed us that she would survive this thing. When she started losing her hair, she had my grandfather shave the rest of it off and when we went out in public she wore a wig so that she didn't embarrass us - but we soon told her that she didn't embarrass us at all - we were PROUD of her. She soon began tossing the wigs...and began wearing bandannas to protect her hairless head. She went through a lot of chemo, a lot of medicine, a mastectomy, and a lot of pain - but she got past the cancer and beat it!

After that, she began to soften around the edges and we became closer. She became my grandma - more than just a title but a feeling. We all became a closer family and we knew that no matter what came into our lives, we'd beat it and we'd have the strength of our family with us through the way.

Two years ago, my grandma asked me to walk in The Race For The Cure with her. I was not a fan of getting up early and going out into the cold, but I immediately said yes. That was the best day that I had had with her in a while - a very, very emotional day. I saw my grandma cry for the first time. I saw her rejoice in the fact that she had beat this thing called cancer. And I saw her show sympathy for others who were going through the same thing. She formed a bond with those ladies - a bond that will never be broken.

Last year, my whole family walked in that race. We all walked together (okay, so I ran at the end). Then we went out to eat - just us ladies in our breast cancer shirts and pants...out to Red Lobster. We could tell that grandma wasn't exactly herself. There wasn't anything wrong with her mood but you could tell that health wise - she just wasn't up to par. That next week, she was diagnosed with breast cancer again - this time in her other breast. She had only one breast left after her previous round with cancer and now it was infected as well. We were all in shock. We thought we had beat this and it wasn't coming back. I say we because it is definitely something you go through as a family. She lost her hair again, had grandpa shave the rest of it, did the chemo, took the pills, and then had the last breast removed. She beat the cancer again. But, after the cancer, she didn't feel right still. She had something wrong with her body - she had another surgery (not related to the cancer) and just healed from it. A surgery that removed parts of her intestines among other things... She was in the hospital for over a week. She couldn't even eat or drink. Like I said, she's a tough bird.

1 comment:

The Branches said...

Hey Shannon! Thank you for your sweet comments. You're so sweet! I'm so glad the people in your family were able to overcome breast cancer. It's a terrible disease. I just walked my first Susan G Komen race last year and it was a lot of fun! I'm proud of you for standing up for those who can't and good luck!