Monday, April 15, 2013

WAKE ME UP

Me - Fall 2006
Because I had cancer there were others in my community that were learning about this disease, re-evaluating things in their own lives and taking steps like getting a mammogram.  I guess by me having cancer it was a wakeup call for a lot of people that this could happen to anyone at anytime.

One story is that shortly before my fourth chemo treatment, I was out watching my son play hockey one day.  One of the hockey Moms from the team approached me to tell me that I had become a subject of discussion at their house one evening.  I asked her to tell me about it because she had made me curious.  Apparently her 12 year old daughter had asked why I had shaved my head and why did I want to be bald.  Her Mom explained that it was because I had cancer.  Her daughter asked what kind of cancer I had.

Her younger son, a friend of my son’s from his hockey team, apparently looked at his sister like she was a complete moron and said, “Well DUH, what do you think?!?  Tracy has cancer of the hair of course!!”  Oh that cracked me up and I thought it was so funny.  So she had to sit down and really have a discussion with her kids because she realized that they knew next to nothing about cancer and the treatments.  She had to let them know that it wasn’t the cancer that had made me go bald but the treatments for the cancer and that it was actually a good thing because the hair loss showed that the chemo was working.

Embrun Panthers at Scotiabank Place - Ottawa 2006
It occurred to me that most school-aged children don’t know very much about cancer or diabetes or heart disease or pretty much any other major disease.  I guess it is not something that is really taught in schools nor do we talk about it at home much.  Until it happens to someone close to you.  I knew pretty much nothing about cancer and treatments for cancer until it happened to me.  Many people are afraid of things they know nothing about which is why they often do not know how to react to it or to someone that has been diagnosed.  I guess it is up to us to learn about prevention and screening and ensure that we pass on this information to our children at the appropriate time.  We need to educate them without scaring them.  Since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, there were messages being spread that affected others around me in ways that I could never even have imagined.  I hoped that by my having to go through this it would somehow be helping others.  Even educating others.  Waking people up!

Mes enfants et moi - Paris 2012
Another situation that comes to mind happened months after the treatments were done.  I ran into an acquaintance who is a teacher at my kids’ school.  We were both at the bank and she thought it ironic to have seen me there that day because her and her husband and made a decision to bite the bullet and take a trip to Europe for the summer with their two kids.  She said it was because of me.  It was because I made them realize that this could happen to anyone at any time and they were all healthy and able and although it was an expense that was a bit out of their budget, they were going to do it anyway!  I told her I was very happy to have helped them spend their money and have this great adventure to share with their kids and create some memories to cherish.

Yeah it sucked to have cancer but it really felt good to know that it might in fact be making life better for others.  Weird eh?

Wake Me Up (Before you Go-Go) - Wham

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