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Staring Down Cancer

Why I continue to fight

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This was another sad week for me, as another girlfriend was laid to rest after fighting this dreaded disease. That's three girlfriends this year. I guess this is why I continue to fight not only my own monster within me, but fight to raise money to put this disease out of business.

How much time do I have left? I wanted to accomplish this before my body left this plane and as an insurance plan for my daughter and for all of our daughters. Did you know that the majority of women's cancers are not hereditary? Maybe 10 percent are hereditary.  There is no safety in thinking, "No one in my family had breast or ovarian cancer."

This cancer is a crap shoot.  We are all at risk.  It is a killer of a random nature – a snake in the grass.  

The only hope we have, the only arsenal in our possession, is early detection. We must be vigilant with self-breast exams, with mammograms and with pap smears.  To feel a lump in your breast at its earliest stage can save your life.  I found my lump myself, two weeks after I had a clear mammogram.  My lump was above the line of where the machine can cover the breast. I'd like to say I was vigilant with self-breast exams, but that would be a lie. I was watching TV, and I had an itch. As I scratched it, I felt a little bump.  Was it a bug bite?  No, because it felt hard like a small pea.  I momentarily wanted to shrug it off because of my "clear" mammogram, but then I thought, "Don't be stupid; it might be something."  You know the rest of my story.

I want to share with you an excerpt from a reading in yesterday's service for my girlfriend.  It gave me a new perspective as I fight my battle.

"Shall I cry out in anger, O God, because your gifts are mine but for a while?
Shall I forget the blessing of health the moment it gives way to illness and pain?
Shall I, in days of adversity, fail to recall the hours of joy and glory you once granted me?
Shall this time of darkness put out forever the glow of the light in which I once walked?
Give me the vision to see and feel, that imbedded deep in each of your gifts, is a core of eternity,
undiminished and bright, an eternity that survives the dread hours of affliction and misery."

It is not good-bye I wish to say to my friends, because I know you will always be here watching over your family and friends.  It is with gratitude that I honor your lives and the time I was lucky enough to know you.

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.  Noreen can be contacted via email at noreen@noreenfraserfoundation.org.