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“When life kicks you, let it kick you forward” – Anonymous Brest Cancer Survivor

Thanksgiving always kicks me and reminds me about how thankful I am that the 2 most important women in my life survived breast cancer and more importantly inspire me every day.

Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) came and went again for my family last month.  Between my mother and wife it is the 9th consecutive year that it has directly hit me (although indirectly through others as well).  Last month was actually the magical 5 year cancerversary for my wife.  It is a fictional celebration point in the timeline for a breast cancer patient.  The chances are high that you’ve kicked the disease if you haven’t had a relapse.  The journey has been so long, we almost forgot it.  In fact when we went for my wife’s quarterly check with her medication, it didn’t even dawn on us.  Cancer is like part of the family.

Going to visit the Diller Cancer Center is an eye opener and a reminder of our journey.  As we walked through the Infusion Area where most people are getting their chemo, you just get grounded when you see all the drawn and tired faces.  If I have to say one thing, if you ever have the chance to keep a friend or relative company when getting their infusion, please do.  It is the hardest and loneliest part and no matter what they say, having you there is only a plus.  I can only recall a handful husbands or dads ever sitting there with the woman getting her infusion in all the times I’ve been there.  When I talk to other husbands, I always tell them to be there 3 times as much as you ever have been.  You will never have that chance to show your love and how thankful you are for their being a part of your life.  When life gives you hurdles, you just need to jump higher!

After the visit last month, I told my wife that sometimes I feel guilty that we’ve put the cancer behind us.  She admitted she felt guilty for not celebrating the 5 year milestone.  I told her maybe we haven’t forgotten but choose to push forward.  That day we saw Dr. Deb Cohan.  Deb chose to have the same surgery as my wife.  They both are daughters of 2-time breast cancer survivors and thus were very pragmatic about their situations.

The video above is of Deb holding a little flash mob before her surgery at the Center. Ironically for me it is the first time I’d seen the exact surgery room where my wife had her surgery. What spirit.  We all fight through our fears and challenges in different ways.  Deb got some flack for her celebration, but I think she chose to show her spirit externally to let people know what kind of fight she needed to put up.  It is a great reminder to me of the fight and spirit my mother and wife have shown and continue to show me and my children every day.

Life is a battle no matter how you look at it.  Approach it with zest and spirit even when facing your biggest fears.