Saturday, April 28, 2012

Advocating for Cancer Research

Loved Ones,

This week I went to Houston to advocate for gastric cancer research.  It was a milestone, in so many ways.

When the girls were little I worked as a consultant and traveled frequently to D.C. to lobby in the health policy arena.  Each trip was the subject of much anxiety though and when Ray died, I resolved that I wouldn't travel again without the girls.

It wasn't just that I don't like traveling.  It was the fact that I was alone now and that traveling seemed to put the girls at risk of greater loss.

I don't like risk!  Not for myself.  Not for them.  Much of my life, I control to try to avoid this, or any other risk!

And thus, my trip to Houston, with just me and Lucy, was a big step.

It wasn't that I thought there was no risk!  How well I know that there is!  As I thought it through the night before it was that, there was risk.  But that there always is!  That risk can fell us in our beds.  No additional action required!

And thus, I resolved to take the risk.  And trust that God would be there -- whatever the result.  I find this trust difficult on a daily basis and that decision and mindset was a victory in itself.

The trip itself was uneventful, but the cancer meeting I attended was meaningful.  This May will mark four years since Ray was diagnosed with cancer.  How well I remembered that time as I walked the hallways of MD Anderson, the cancer center Ray and I visited for a second opinion on his prognosis and treatment.

And yet his doctor and I met on Wednesday not with sadness but with amazement.  It seems the research to sequence the genome of diffuse gastric cancer is about to begin.  This research we have advocated for during the last three years.  This project which has met and overcome such hurdles, is about to begin.

I KNOW my husband is proud!  I know that he is proud of how hard we worked!  I know he is proud that this research can make a difference.  I know he is proud of the constant and tireless advocacy we have directed to this project and the continued future for this research and the future for patients just like him who have so few options.

And I know he is proud of his wife who surmounted her fears, who trusted her God to keep her and the girls safe, so that she could fight on his behalf.

not alone and not afraid --


"I sought the Lord and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears."  Psalm 34:4