Sunday, June 1, 2008

My first Relay for Life

as a survivor was on Friday with my buddy Bob. Funny thing is I am not ready to call myself a survivor. I think it is just too soon, but Bob kicked me in the butt and told me I was. I have learned that whatever Bob says is usually true. If it isn't, I am not going to do the research to prove him wrong. He is way too into research. I have been invited to a lot of Relays and I am trying to contribute in every way I can - money, time, etc. as I appreciate the Relay for Life so much. I always did, but now, well you know, cutting edge drugs have, thus far, saved my there anything else to say? But this Relay was the most important to me. This was Bob's baby and I wanted more than anything to walk the survivor lap with him. Remember, Bob bugged me until I opened up at the beginning. He encouraged me, he listened to me, and he made me laugh like only a co-rectal cancer patient can. I dressed his chemo "tree" with ornaments during Christmas and I listened to the pros and cons of all the schools his daughter was considering for college, both while in chemo. I was walking with Bob and everyone in my world supported that. Grant picked up the kids from daycare AND took them to a birthday party for me. While it pulled at me to not be at the birthday party from the beginning (some of the greatest people I know were there), I didn't want my boys at the Relay. It is just too soon. I still cry and get weepy and I just don't want that for them. Some advice that I got at the beginning was don't let cancer take their time. So, Daddy took care of them, and I joined them a little late. In the end, no biggy. Anyway, I digress.....the Relay was good. I got caught up with Bob and walked with him. So, as with all my life stories these days, there was a funny part. I didn't want to spend $10 and register as a "survivor". Remember, I didn't think I was one yet and I wanted all my money to go to Bob's team, so I brought EVERY T-SHIRT y'all bought and sent me and let Bob pick which one he liked. Of course, being the rule follower that I am, I asked permission to wear something different than the standard "survivor" shirt and was granted. Of all my T-shirts, Bob liked, "What is up your butt???" with the blue (remember - should be brown) suvivor ribbon. So, on it went and off we went. At the end of the lap, they have a microphone where you could, if you wanted to, state your name, cancer, and years of remission. I wasn't going to do it, and then I thought (and said aloud), "I don't think I can waste this T-shirt." For most of you who know me, you are probably thinking, "That woman used to fight over the bull horn" and you are right, but cancer changes everything about you. So, I was the last person in line and when my turn came up I said, and I quote, "Angela Clarno, Stage Four Rectal Cancer hence the shirt...pause....audience laugh...., remission three months." Audience clap and laugh. When I left the mic, I said, "You gotta have a sense of humor with rectal cancer!" I got my picture in the the Kent Reporter. The photographer said, "You wear a shirt like that, you want attention." and I think....maybe cancer didn't change me so much...."Here let me spell my name for you..." I had some time to take pictures of Bob and his family during the survivor and caretaker lap, I shared my story with a few that approached me, and cried. Then, it was time to leave and be Mommy again. I welcomed it, but when I looked back on the field exiting to the parking lot, I was so happy that I had that time, that moment and that amazing weather. How truly lucky I am - I am a survivor. Happy Sunday, Ang


Anonymous said...

Way to go Ang!

Have a Happy, Happy Birthday today and a wonderful year - you certainly deserve it!

Bob said...

Ang - thanks so much for being there. I managed 2 1/2 miles before my feet and back told me that it was time to sit down. As much as I tried not to, I cried through the entire Luminaria ceremony as we lined the track and looked at the the illuminated paper bags on the darkened field. Keep enjoying life as a survivor.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive! And off you go to Disney Land, continuing to outpace us all. Which is totally wonderful. Happy birthday, I know you're making it a great one.
The Chicago fan club

Anonymous said...

Angie- Have been thinking about you and the fact that it was your birthday. I hope you had a great day and am thrilled you are doing so great! You are the inspiration story I use with staff and some of the patients I spend time with. You bring hope to many...I am so glad God's light is on you. I love you! Lizette