Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Strides

A  joyous survivor
I finished radiation treatment for breast cancer, following two surgeries, three years ago. This year I participated for the first time post-cancer in the Making Strides Against Cancer 5K walk. I walked with two friends, also cancer survivors. They took me to a table where we got bright pink ribbon sashes emblazoned with the word SURVIVOR.
This was unlike any 5K I have walked. There was a suggested start time but you could begin anytime within a four hour window. We were there in the first hour so I did not expect many people. I was wrong. We joined a steady stream of walkers. I planned to do this in a meditative manner. I wanted to think about cancer, what it meant to me, what it taught me, and how it affects me now.

I began to observe my fellow walkers and strike up conversations with them. I also stopped to take photos. As a result I passed the same man three times, learning a bit more about him each time.

He was walking in honor of his sisters, two have passed on and one is a survivor. I was impressed by his thoughtful pace and quiet dignity and his devotion to his sisters. 

It was a beautiful day, sunny after morning showers and in the mid 50's. The walk started downtown went up one side of the river, crossed a bridge, looped through a park, and then wound back down the other side of the river. The last half was mostly on the top of the dike with a stunning view of the city.

I began to pay attention to the tee shirts folks were wearing. Some were funny, some poignant. Here are some examples. A group of folks were sporting this shirt.

I started to photograph the adult in this picture when his son asked to be included. His shirt was covered by his jacket but he eagerly unzipped to show that he too was "Tough Enough to Wear Pink."

I laughed out loud at both of these.

The family groups tugged at my heart. I felt so lonely during my cancer journey as I was going through divorce at the time. 

And then there were these.

It was a good day for me. I'm grateful to be three years out and continue to make life style choices to stay healthy. I honor those who have made the journey before me and wish healing to all those currently on the path.