When I was at the CD release party in October 2009 for N.E.D. the Band (No Evidence of Disease) a woman who's name I do not remember (I don't remember her name because in a loud music oriented crazy event, where I am the emcee, I'm lucky that I can remember my own name, or the performers that I'm to introduce during the evening), said something that keeps rolling around in my head. The Crystal Ballroom was filled with either surgeons, oncologists, gynecologists, musicians, cancer survivors, or the friends and family of people who's lives had been altered by gynecological cancer of some kind. There was great food and inspiring music, and it was all to raise money and awareness for Marjie's Fund and N.E.D.
In the middle of the evening, before I auctioned off the N.E.D. signed guitar, this woman comes up to me when I was talking to the young man from Stupid Cancer (an internet radio show for young people dealing with cancer) and said "I'd like to forget that I ever had the disease." I agreed. How could you not. To be the same person as before the diagnosis has an appeal. More reckless. More angry. More wild and carefree. More me.
On the other hand, life afterward is also this big ass gift horse that you can't look in the mouth. So, I'm torn between two worlds. Those words have haunted me for months now.
She did go on to say that she normally doesn't like to go to things that celebrate the disease...like relays, marathons, fundraisers, etc...and just likes to forget she went through it all, and get on with her life. That's really what life is all about anyway. Getting on with it. It makes sense to me. I don't think these events really "celebrate" the disease as keep us aware of it, but I get where she was going with this.
That being said, I do like to celebrate the fact that anyone who survives cancer is still here to get on with it. To rock, to write, to appreciate, to love, to give, to be pissed off...all of it.
There's a couple of things that are coming up on the same weekend in June, and as a survivor, both have to do with "The Big C" in different ways.
On June 5th, there's the Iris Gives Back 2010: Joyride, Kickstart for Kids motorcycle ride to raise money for the Children's Cancer Association. The ride is from Paradise Harley Davidson to Pacific City where the CCA has a Caring Cabin where families with children fighting cancer can go and have a little vacation with their whole families. We're also having a big party the night before at Ducati Motocorsa with a silent auction for some cool stuff.
Then on Sunday June 6th, there's an event at the World Forestry Center from 2-4pm for Cancer Survivors. KATU's Shellie Bailey-Shah will be on hand, and she always is inspiring. The event is free and for more information call 503-335-3500.
Yesterday the world lost an incredible rocker, Ronnie James Dio, to stomach cancer. His distinctive voice, so huge for a person of such small stature (he was 5'4" like me), his gracious nature, his kindness, his positive attitude in the face of this disease will be remembered by all who loved him. I met the man one time and that backstage greeting before his show at the Memorial Coliseum will stay in my mind forever. He was that cool.
I'm sure he would have rather had the challenge to survive and celebrate "getting on with it" rather than saying goodbye before he was ready.
Throw horns. Rock on.
Oh, and to the woman who's name I don't remember, thank you for giving me some stuff to think about. Truly!
On with the show.
Thanks, Iris! for raising awareness to this horrible killer and wanting to do something about it. I too have had to deal with cancer and its repercussions first hand. Not as a patient but as a caregiver. And although I didn't feel the pain that my mom was dealing with and in no way I'm comparing what I had to do with what she did, I'd like to say that CANCER is a family disease that affects everyone in the family not only the person it's got it's ugly grip on. You say you'd like to be the person you were before you met this ugly bastard...so do I. I wish I never had had to go through this with my mom and lose her a month after her diagnosis. I wish I never had to learn this lesson and I too wish I could forget and get on with my life but the truth is, we never will. This experience really changed my whole future and the way I look at things now. Maybe good in the long run? I don't know...what I do know is that I'd like to have my mom back...
Love you, Iris! Take care!