Today was the Team Spirit Breast and Ovarian Cancer 10k Walk and I will say this, the scene was amazing. At 7:30am you would have thought you were walking into a party. So many warm smiles, friendly conversations, and laughter filled the air. It was truly remarkable. Something I have never seen so early in the morning. But these people were ready. Ready to walk for a very important cause, breast and ovarian cancer. The party only got louder as the end of the walk came to a close. Many celebrated their victory of crossing the finish line!
562citylife congratulates those who walked and passed that finish line! And a special congrats to Keyes Club! You truly are an inspiration. See the blog below for the encouraging and heartening story behind Melissa and the Keyes Club.
Check out the photos below of the walk.
Find more photos like this on 562 City Life
I come across many people day after day. And I know that while I don't know many intimately, they all most likely have an interesting story or past. I was fortunate enough to come across such a story recently. I was able to read an amazing journal/blog about one woman's battle with breast cancer. It is powerful, inspiring, touching, and uplifting. One that I think all should read and listen to. I thank Melissa Keyes for sharing her story.
Melissa sent me her journal and after receiving it, I couldn't stop reading. I was glued. My journey into Melissa's day-to-day life and exploring her personal struggle and her positive spirit began. It was truly mind blowing. Here is a link to her journal, caringbridgejournal.pdf
From there, questions developed.
One of my first questions was obvious. How was the cancer
first detected? Melissa had her suspicions that something might be wrong. The area was tender and her doctor added additional testing to the mammogram. Her biopsy came back positive. "I remember that my husband and I were driving on Spring Street. I made him go in circles around the business park as so not to lose the cell connection by going underneath the tunnel. I remember having to ask at least three times, "Really? Now tell me this again." I went from shock, to fear, to anger, and back to shock. It was odd, the emotional roller coaster just seems to keep going and going. I was afraid to hear anymore but I had to hear it. It was time to buck up and face the facts. That's when my focus changed from reactive to proactive!"
While reading Melissa's blog postings, you can tell that the chemo treatments started to become dreadful after the first. I asked Melissa to expand on these feelings..."Chemo was a necessary evil. It was every three weeks and I had four cycles. The process itself was not bad. I was fortunate that the meds I received lessened any real cause of nausea from the treatments, but the other side affects were rough. Chemo Brain and fatigue were probably the worst side affects I had to deal with, other than being tired, tired and more tired. Also, a medicine I was given to boost up my immune system 24 hours after chemo was the worst. It basically told my bones to go into overdrive, building me back up, but the process was quite painful. I took five days off after each chemo. I worked through the entire process."
I can't even fathom all the hits your body takes while going through such treatments. Many know that losing your hair is one major and physical side effect. Melissa ended up losing her hair and had touched on the idea of losing her eyebrows. She joked that maybe she would be able to start over with them. So many women I know hate their eyebrows and would love to start over again! I asked Melissa if she was able to reshape her brows. "Ha ha that was wishful thinking! I ended up losing all of my hair but the brows! Go figure. So, I am still fighting the ones I have, just not quite as much. I must say that being bald was very liberating. My boss at the time had a very, very short buzz hair cut...eventually we took a picture together and I entitled it "wannabe." My hair is returning. I went from being a natural, straight-haired blond, to a short curly black and gray. Well, not anymore due to the wonderful affects of hair color." I loved Melissa's response. She has such a great upbeat view, even on her rough days journaling, her sign off was very positive. How was she able to keep positive? "I just knew I had to be. Sure, I had my pity party days, but for the most part, I vowed that this was not going to beat me. I think, by reading my blog, you can tell when I was having a bad day - or a good day for that matter regardless, we all have that! We all pick ourselves back up and do what we need to do. I needed to keep moving. I needed to keep living."
Melissa is in remission and hit her one-year cancer free day in May! My last question to Melissa was, how has this changed her life? Outlook? Her answer is moving. "My outlook looks good. It's still an emotional roller coaster because it never goes away. There are always tests, tests, and more tests necessary to keep on top of this. But all in all, I am good. I have an incredible husband, son, and stepdaughters that keep in me line...they are my rock. I have experienced a lot of death in my family. My immediate family are all gone. I learned when I was very young to say your peace, share your love, as tomorrow may never be."
Melissa's favorite quote is one by Robert Frost
, "The best way out is through." After reading Melissa's story and being uplifted by her courage, I can only say that she has truly inspired me to be more and to think positive no matter what situation. Your outlook can make the difference.
Melissa is involved with the Team Spirit Breast and Ovarian Cancer 10k Walk
. She shared, "When I was going through treatment, I had lost my hair, was feeling awful and one day I looked out my kitchen window and saw all these walkers headed down my street. With no wig, I went outside and asked a group of four women what they were walking for? They said breast cancer. I just lost it right there...as I cried, they came to reassure me that it would be okay - one was a survivor. I will never forget that day...ever." Melissa will be walking with some spectacular women/friends from her office, some she used to work with, and friends from Twitter. All of these make up the KeyesClub Team.
I know there are thousands of stories equally as compelling as Melissa's and this September you have the opportunity to support these extraordinary women in their fight against cancer. The 10th Annual Teamspirit Breast & Ovarian Cancer 10k Walk
will be September 26th, 2009. Support the teams by cheering the walkers along! You can also make donations through Melissa's personal site
or on the team site