I believe that the time of our birth, God looks ahead
into our future for the worst times in our lives and places people along
our path who are strong enough to carry us over the rough road before
us! These people are called SURVIVORS.
February 1998, I sat numbed in the chair, unable to swallow. My stomach
was in painful knots and I was having a hard time breathing. It couldn't
be true! I was just 40 and much too young to have cancer. The true
reason I went to my doctor was to have him tell me cancer was on my
mind, due to the recent loss of Jane Randolph; and that I was cancer
free. It didn't happen and now I had to face the fact that the rest of
my life would be spent as a cancer SURVIVOR.
The word survivor has two meanings that are much alike
based on the root word survive, meaning "To remain alive or in
1. To live longer than; outlive.
2. To live or persist through.
Both meanings can apply to many cancer survivors, but
not all of us. The first one is the meaning we all wish for. To live
longer than; outlive the cancer in our body.
From the time I was born I grew up with the fact that
my Grandmother had a radical mastectomy on her journey to survive
cancer. I believed that she lived into her late eighties, so to me,
cancer was more of a word than an illness. After all I never remember
seeing my Grandmother sick. Years later, my mom also came down with
breast cancer. I never really understood what all her worrying was
about, after all, her own mother had lived for years as a cancer
survivor. My mom just needed to have the surgery and all would be well.
Today my mom is doing fine and is a cancer survivor by the standards of
Sad but true, not all cancer survivors live longer or
outlive the cancer. My roommate Mitch's mom was diagnosed with breast
cancer in June of 1994. At that point in my life, I had developed a
relationship with his mom, Jane, that was closer then the relationship
with my own mother. For the past four years, Jane had graciously
welcomed me into her family during all holidays and special occasions.
As Mitch and his dad would sit in the living room talking, Jane and I
would sit outside and watch the fireflies. Jane and I would talk about
everything and yet we would talk about nothing. Then in June, the family
discussions revolved around cancer. My understanding grew at that time
as we talked about what treatment would be best for her . We survived
all of these things together as Jane's surgery and treatment were
Two years later in August of 1996, I came home from a
day of work to the exciting news that Jane had called with good news.
Her doctors gave her a clean bill of health. I remember the day well as
we were both so happy that we went out to dinner to celebrate. The
celebration was short lived. Four months later, came the words no one
expected. The cancer was back and Jane was terminally ill. For the next
several months, we agonized with the fact that being a cancer survivor
means "To live or persist through" even if just for another
The loss of Jane Randolph was one of the greatest
losses of my life. She passed away on August 8, 1997. Mitch and I
grieved for six months, when the news hit. Only 6 months later, I
developed prostate cancer. Mitch and his family were not in any shape to
receive this type of news, so I planed to face cancer by myself and told
only two people.
At my first [company] conference I was a cancer
survivor of 5 months. I had given up hope and let my business drop off
to almost nothing. I knew it would be my one and only national
conference, all my dreams were shattered. When conference was over, I
would move Mitch, along with my pets to Ohio. Then I would go through
treatments and wait for my turn to die. At conference, I sat in my chair
and listened to Dianne Baldridge talk about being a cancer survivor. I
knew at once that God had placed her in my path! I had quit living with
one look at the road ahead of me. Dianne Baldridge had just picked me up
and would carry me down the road till I was strong enough to walk on my
own once more.
Being a Cancer survivor means many things. You first
have to survive the fears that you might have it and the shock of
knowing. I sat alone in my bathroom and cried many hours after my
doctors appointment. Next you have to survive telling your family and
friends. It sounds easy to many of you, but for me and all the other
survivors I know, it is one of the most difficult things to have to
survive! Next we have to survive talking about parts of our bodies we
wish we didn't have to and survive the many embarrassing checkups and
test our doctors need to put us through. We have to survive treatments
and medicines often more painful then the cancer itself. Many times the
treatments left me with a low white blood cell count to the point that I
couldn't go out and run my business. I survived! Most important we have
to survive the fact that we are not cured and our next doctors visit
could bring us bad news.
Surviving cancer is "To live or persist
through". The change in our bodies, long treatments, fear of a
return, lost work and wages, the pile of bills are among the many things
we have to live through, one day at a time. Some of us lose our families
in the battle, yet we must fight on. Being a cancer survivor we need
many things to make it another day. Three of the things we need most of
all are hope, love, and support. In the past year our beloved cancer
survivor, Dianne Baldridge, has lead the [company] campaign to offer us
these three things. Her openness about her struggles to survive have
given many of us hope! Many of you by your letters and kind words have
filled our lives with love. Your hard work to beat the goal of $500,000
has given us support.
I am a cancer survivor! I have survived many things
this past year as have all of our [company] family survivors. To all of
you, we say thank you for your love and support. You have carried us
along the rough roads another year. In just over a week, many of us will
meet in Washington once more. It will be my second conference and my
second as a cancer SURVIVOR. Missing will be cancer survivors too ill to
make it as well as those who have lost the battle. They will always be
with us in spirit. As for the rest of us, we will survive another
conference supported by your love and kindness.
Has God placed us there so that we will be along
someone else path? I think so. With Dianne Baldridge and all of you
helping me this past year, I'm strong enough to make it on my own and
carry a friend or two along with me till the road is easy once more. My
dream is alive, thanks to many of you!
There are many types of SURVIVORS. People that have
joined [company] and hit a rough spot in the road ahead. They SURVIVED
canceled parties, lack of bookings and small sales. Some one carried
them along the road in the past. Now God has placed them in your path as
you look out at the rough [company] road ahead of you. For one week they
will pick you up, carry you along, and place you back down on the road
to living out your American dream.
A survivor is, "To live or persist through".
Dianne Baldridge and I are cancer survivors! We have lived through our
cancer another year. Yet in many ways all of you are survivors as well.
You have been at our side when we needed you and survived! You set a
huge goal of $500,000 , beat it, and survived! You have stuck with
[company] when times were tough! In my book, that makes us all
SURVIVORS! Thank you! May we all survive together another year till we
meet again at national conference, a gathering of SURVIVORS!
I will remember you, Hank
This page last
updated July 06, 2005