Monday, August 27, 2012

Why People Wear the Yellow Bracelets

Given recent events, I think it's important to remind people why Livestrong means so much to the cancer community. It's not about blindly idolizing a person or wearing a bracelet...

The Livestrong Manifesto

We believe in life.

Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.

We kick in the moment you're diagnosed.
We help you accept the tears. Acknowledge the rage.
We believe in your right to live without pain.
We believe in information. Not pity.
And in straight, open talk about cancer.
With husbands, wives and partners. With kids, friends and neighbors. Your healthcare team. And the people you live with, work with, cry and laugh with.
This is no time to pull punches.
You're in the fight of your life.

We're about the hard stuff.
Like finding the nerve to ask for a second opinion.
And a third, or a fourth, if that's what it takes.
We're about preventing cancer. Finding it early. Getting smart about clinical trials.
And if it comes to it, being in control of how your life ends.
It's your life. You will have it your way.

We're about the practical stuff.
Planning for surviving. Banking your sperm. Preserving your fertility. Organizing your finances. Dealing with hospitals, specialists, insurance companies and employers.
It's knowing your rights.
It's your life.
Take no prisoners.

We're about the fight.
We're your advocate before policymakers. Your champion within the healthcare system. Your sponsor in the research labs.
And we know the fight never ends.
Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Three Years

It's unimaginable that Dan has been gone three years. Some days it seems like forever. And other days it seems like he is just away for the weekend.

Whoever says time heals all was probably just trying to think of something nice to say. If you've ever lost someone, you know that there will never be a time when you don't miss the person... ache to talk to him one more time... see him smile... hear his laugh... But time does start to erase the memories of illness and hospitals and treatments. And for me, I can see him as young and healthy, bouncing around full of life.

Three years is enough to see the lasting impact of loss. I wish so much that Dan were here to see the birth of his best friends' kids and all of his nieces and nephews. I wish that he had a wedding day. I wish he had been able to buy his own house with a yard for a dog (or three, knowing Dan). I wish he could be here in June to have a big party for his 30th. I wish he were here to tell his story because even though we try, there was nothing like his living example of strength and honesty. These things don't ease with time... because as years go by he misses more and more "things". And my heart breaks a little more for him... and for all of us that don't have him in our lives every day.

But, I know that Dan would not want anyone to feel sorry for him. Of course he would want to be missed (and be the center of attention every once in awhile). I think he would like it that his friends will gather tonight and be together. And I think he would understand when we say it still hurts so much because we love so much. And that love will never fade away and never be replaced. Even though my heart is heavy, it is bigger and has more room because of Dan... even his loss. I know all of the good things he brought me will always be with me... and that makes tough anniversaries just a little easier.

Waeger Will Win