How You Can Support Our Cancer Resource Center’s Director on Her Ride to Conquer CancerPosted by HCGH_CL on Aug 11, 2015 in Cancer, Events | 0 comments
I Ride for My Family, My Patients, and Because I Can
I was excited when I heard about the Ride to Conquer Cancer, so I went to an in-service here at Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) to learn more. I’m always up for a new adventure, but this one is somehow different. Raising money for cancer services has always been close to my heart, but this came with an incredible physical challenge as well. What’s two days on a bike compared to months—even years—of cancer treatment?
I have been a certified oncology social worker for years, and I am also currently the director of HCGH’s Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center. I have had the privilege of working with many patients and families in cancer treatment. I do not proclaim to be an expert on life, but I do know that people are resilient. I have been blessed to have worked with hundreds of people in a very intimate and professional capacity, during a very difficult period in their lives. I have watched them get through things they never thought they could! Whether it was hair loss, leave from their job, talking with their children, or even experiencing the death of a loved one, I have watched people surprise themselves every day. People are amazing.
I have always said that cancer is an equal opportunity offender. It doesn’t care where you work, if you are male or female, young or old, black or white. I have been humbled by those who have died. I am inspired by those who live with their diagnosis every day without hope for a cure, and I am hopeful for those who have heard the words, “no evidence of disease,” after months of treatment. I have sat with people who question their own mortality, question what they might have done wrong, and with families who wonder how they will make it through. I have learned many life lessons along the way, which help me to hug my family a little closer, laugh a little louder and sweat a little less about the little things.
On a more personal note, I have learned that cancer doesn’t have to define people. I sat with my mom after her surgery. I changed her dressings. I watched her and my kids giggle and play with her wigs. I even watched her bury her father in her wig, when cancer had to take a backseat to life. Since then, my mom has learned to ride a bike, swim, get a personal trainer and still be my mom, asking me, “Are you getting enough sleep? Are you taking care of yourself?” Moms worry about their kids at all ages.
I watched my dad’s ear get reconstructed with grafted tissue harvested from his thigh. I watch him rub a special chemotherapy cream on his skin to contain the many cancer cells on his face. I listen to him grumble about having to go to his dermatologist on a monthly basis for skin examinations, claiming, “She is just making up excuses to see me naked.” Other than that, he is still my Dad. He fixes things around my house when he comes to visit.
I ride for many reasons. I ride for those who would love to ride but can’t. I ride for those who have been through so much. I ride because I believe in the cancer services provided here at HCGH. I ride because I can.