Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Komen Southern AZ Race for the Cure

On Sunday, I participated in my third Komen 5K walk as a survivor! If you have ever attended a Komen race, you know how awesome and overwhelming this event is. As a survivor, I can tell you that I am awestruck each year when I see the vast amount of people who, in one way or another, are touched by breast cancer and drawn to participate in this larger than life event. 14,000 people attended the race on Sunday and over $1,000,000 was raised to eradicate breast cancer. That is simply awe inspiring.

Each year, I find myself overwhelmed to the point of tears as I drive towards the survivors parking lot. Tears of joy at seeing the volunteers setting up the water stations, tears of sadness for those who lost their lives to breast cancer, tears of sorrow for my personal friends who were taken too early and tears of joyful acknowledgement that I am still here and living a full and rewarding life. This year, my son John accompanied me, which added to my tears of joy.

In the midst of all of my emotions and crowd, I find that the Komen race offers me a time for peaceful refection of my personal growth. My first Komen Race happened to be on the 1 year anniversary of my diagnosis. I had just quit my job of 11 years and was in the beginnings of re defining my life after cancer. I was not involved in a support group and walked with my sons' school. It was an extremely emotional day for me. I came to the realization that day, that I had shut people out of my life. The friends that I had were work related and were not there. I was alone and I didn't like it.

That day was a turning point for me. I joined a support group shortly thereafter and began the process of redefinition. Two years later, the social recluse that I used to be has blossomed into a social butterfly. I was not alone at the Komen race, I was surrounded by my support group sisters and my darling son.

I now find myself taking chances and getting involved in activities that tap into my creative side, which I did not allow myself to do in my other life. I find myself craving social interaction, whereas before I craved isolation. My silversmith class has opened up many doors to places that I didn't realize. Hence, the creation of my Etsy shop, Caroline's Curio.

I used to get mad when people said that cancer was a gift. Now, although I still feel that I wouldn't ask for this gift, I am content in knowing that I am living a better and more fulfilling life after cancer.

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