I am ready to not write another word about cancer, because it does not define me and my life is blessed daily by animals and animal lovers. But the three year anniversary this week of that fateful day did give me pause to stop and reflect on my path. Then, just yesterday, a Dillie fan that came to the house to meet her asked me if I could publish the speech I gave at a local cancer "Relay for Life." And as things always seem to happen lately, just last night as I put away an old book, my handwritten speech from this event tumbled out. This was definitely a "God Is Trying to Tell You Something" moment, even without the cast of The Color Purple. Who am I to defy the will of God, and He time and time again makes that will known to me in the most obvious but cheeky ways.
So, without further adieu, here is the text to the speech I was so honored to be asked to give at the Jackson Relay for Life in 2015. And I PROMISE my next blog with have NOTHING to do with cancer!!! MRB
RELAY FOR LIFE
Yes, I am “Dillie’s Mom.” Dillie the Deer that became an international webacm/internet star after appearing on TV and having over 1 million fans.
As you can tell by my bald head, I am also a cancer patient. No, this isn’t a fashion statement. I am not getting ready to pose for the Sports Illustrated Uncle Fester Edition.
This is my third year of my cancer journey. And I do see this as a journey, and a journey I was supposed to have made. It is a journey that has taken me to places I have never been before. I don’t just mean under the linear accelerator in a radiation oncology room or my pink chemo chair, but I mean places in my soul and my faith that I have never examined before, and needed to.
It’s a journey that has given me the absolute privilege of meeting the most incredible spirits in the world: wonderful, compassionate doctors, nurses, and staff-- but also the amazing fellow passengers on my journey that travel with me with such courage and determination. Once you’re on board this flight, the other passengers welcome you with open arms, and help you navigate the bumps and turns. And there’s a lot of those.
I meet my fellow passengers everywhere I go. We don’t have a secret handshake, but we’re easy to tell apart. We’re the ones with no eyebrows and legs so smooth we could do a Nair commercial. But we’re also those that are grateful for every day, for every hug from our loved ones. We are survivors together. We are strong survivors, and we are are survivor strong.
Cancer thinks it is soooo powerful. But it’s not. Oh, he calls himself the Tumornator and says “I’ll be back!” but he’s just Don Knotts in an Arnold Schwarzenegger costume. He’s weak. He can only hurt our bodies, that’s all. He’s not the Terminator- he’s the shakiest gun in the west!
He cannot take our souls. He cannot end the love we have for our friends and families. He cannot destroy our faith, He only makes that stronger. He cannot undo the impact we have made with out lives.
These things stand forever.
I know that the Tumornator may shorten my life, but he cannot make me ungrateful for every day I have. He cannot take that away from me.
My biggest fear when I was first diagnosed was not that I might die. We all die. No, my fear was that my life hadn’t mattered, that POOF, I would be gone, and no one would even know I had been here. My diagnosis prompted me to get off my backside and finish the book I had started about my deer Dillie. Seeing what a huge impact this little throwaway life had to people all over the world, from Australia to Siberia, I realized my life did have impact, that we all make a dent in the universe. This revelation–this epiphany– gave me the strength I needed to continue the journey I am on.
Those of you here today tat have already taken the flight I am on, God bless you all. You are indeed survivor strong.
Those of you here today representing a loved one that wasn’t able to complete the journey, on their behalf, I boldly thank you. By honoring them, remembering them, missing them, loving them, you have refused to let the Tunornator win. He’s crashing today in front of our eyes in a big ball of flaming mutated chromosomes.
Your love is more powerful than cancer.
Together, we tell the Tumornator to go back to Hell. Say it with me: Hasta la vista, Baby!