I have cancer. I have Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. There is no cure.
I felt the physical pain of the tumor in my back. I have suffered through two 21 plus days of radiation and 1 cycle of five sessions of RCHOP chemotherapy. I lost my hair--everywhere! I lost a ton of weight. I lost my appetite. I lost the feeling in my toes and finger. I froze, I sweltered; often all in the same hour. I slept but never felt rested. I cried. I threw up. I starved. I swelled. I bled. I was scanned so many times I've lost count. I know which veins bleed well. I know which veins are scared so they will not give blood anymore. I have scars. I have tattoos (they are dots on my body so they can line up the lasers). I have raised money. I have run (Team in Training). I have suffered. I have conquered. I have survived. And I have watched friends die.
Tracy Dart is a woman from West Seattle who claimed to have breast cancer. She did her first three day walk in honor or memory of a relative and then shortly after that she said that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Of course she continued to walk and raise money. One report says she (Team Tracy) raised over $414,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and for a year drove a Volkswagen car that was wrapped in pink. I know of a West Seattle store that held fund raisers in their store for her. People gave her cash for groceries and "$7,000 went to help with living expenses while she underwent treatment for cancer". Meals were provided for her. She claims that she beat breast cancer three times.
But she lied!
She never had breast cancer--EVER!
She isn't the first person to do this and she won't be the last. But this one hits close to home.
I posted this on my Facebook page and I had a fellow survivor just shake this off and said, "I guess as a survivor this doesn't take away the fact I survived. Having cancer was one of the worst times of my life and I overcame it and although it's easy to be angry, I feel sympathy for people who are sad and empty. It does nothing to me, my treatment and my battle."
So why do I care?
I care for the very fact that one person commented on the Facebook news feed when this story broke: "I will never donate to another person's cause." Cancer depends on money so that research can be funded. I'm not sure the cure will ever be found, but we sure can find better treatments.
I went through one of the harshest chemotherapies for NHL: RCHOP. If the research was better, maybe I could have been given a different drug without all the harsh side effects. They have come a long way, but there is much to learn and discover.
I care for the fact that Ms. Dart claimed in speeches that she went through treatment. I have no words for the hell that I went through when I was in treatment for cancer. Every day (and to some degree even now) I went to bed and wondered if that was the last day of my life. Being scared for your own life every day is unthinkable, but somehow I did that. I wonder what Ms. Dart's evening prayers were? Did she pray, "Dear Lord, Please, let me live one more day. My babies aren't done growing and I haven't seen them graduate yet, or get married, or kiss their unborn babies."? NO SHE DID NOT!
A local TV personality posted this message to Marshawn Lynch thanking Mr. Lynch for giving him the courage to push through a very difficult cancer treatment. In part it said this,
"My doctor, John Thompson at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance put me on a two week treatment of Interleukin 2. I didn’t know he was sending me to hell.
"It’s a drug that has horrible side effects. Let’s put it this way, they put you in intensive care when it’s administered. Your blood pressure drops while your heart races. You get the chills so violently you shake the entire bed. You gain water weight at such a clip you can damn near see your face swell if you were looking into a mirror. Sleeping, yeah, right. Every eight hours, the process repeats itself. You want to quit. Cancer is kicking your ass. The drug feels even worse. Your life may depend on receiving the drug. Knowing all of that, there’s an even chance you’d run away from the hospital and the drug if given the chance.
"While in the fog of that war, someone told me the Seahawks had a playoff game. It meant nothing at that moment. I was in and out for the start of the game. I didn’t care. Actually, I couldn’t care."
(Full posting here: http://jessejones.com/story/a-thank-you-note-to-marshawn-lynch/)
That, my friends, is cancer treatment. Ms. Dart is making it up in her speech at the three day walk event. (Truthfully I couldn't stomach the whole 11 minute video so I stopped after 3 minutes of lies.) She doesn't know. She can't understand. SHE IS LYING.
I care because of posts like this from my friend Lori: "She stole money from us, about $1000.00. I am assuming we are not the only ones.....the worst part is I sat and cried with her roommate and dear friend over the potential loss of her. I prayed many times at church for her. I could go on and on......."
The emotional thievery is unmeasurable.
I care because others will wonder, "Does Doreen really have cancer?" My cancer isn't visible. I didn't lose a body part. I did lose my hair, but then Ms. Dart shaved all of her off. Who's to know? Not that I want everyone to know, but I do. I want those who are suffering to know you can survive. There is a tomorrow. I know when I was diagnosed I wanted to read all the survivor stories I could. I wanted hope. I know this cancer will kill me...someday. But I want that day to be way out in the distance. I still want hope. I now want to be that hope for others.
But now I wonder, "Will they believe my brave face? Will they come pick me up from a doctor appointment? Will they bring my family a meal when I just can't get the strength together to do it for them? What proof will be required for me to prove I have cancer?"
I do feel very sorry for Ms. Dart. I feel for her need for this type of attention. I feel sorry for her.
I hate liers.
Here is part 1 an 2 of a speech I gave at the TNT dinner in Vancouver just before a marathon in 2011. https://www.facebook.com/sblanding/videos/vb.1329747260/1700360552074/?type=2&theater
Sources for this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2016/01/31/local-woman-may-have-faked-cancer-diagnosis/79620826/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h00WKUM1sc (but please don't watch---her view count doesn't need to go higher)