Our friend Robin Pelka passed away this past Saturday after her battle with brain cancer. She sent this open letter to her email list late last year, in hopes that it might be published or at least read. For whatever reason, it never made it into the pages of my magazine. But after hearing the news today, I searched through my inbox for a note from her. She had occasionally sent me (and I'm sure many others) missives about fighting her disease with humor and grit. Even though we weren't close friends, we knew each other from the music industry. She was a beautiful person and I was sad to hear she'd left us. In her absence, I hope her words resonate. Rest in peace, Robin.
—Raymond Leon Roker, September 24, 2009
November 23, 2008
Cancer, Cancer, Cancer
Fear is the topic here, along with the cancer. They have been associated and will be for quite some time. This is not an assumption on the whole. Fear is put into our faces on a daily. It all happens; a car crash, tornado, terrorism, viruses. If it's not one, it's the other. Life is short, embrace it. You must train yourself to be safe and healthy but try not to have many fears.
Cancer, the word you'll hear out of my mouth at a constant. It hasn't left me. Well, the tumor inside the brain has left, except for a few remnant cells being watched every so often. I also carry many post surgical, post cancer, post chemo, chronic issues, the list goes on.
Fortunately every morning I wake up and say I am lucky. Many do not understand how I can believe so. I count every minute of my life and every bit of change. There is no fear any longer in this person. If there was, there would be less survivors of all cancers.
After the brain cancer, like lots of people, I started going to a support group. It was always a word said in quiet; As if you were saying a nasty swear word. I met an older, very religious, high school teacher. She did not tell her students when she had breast cancer. After all of her treatment, a few years later, a new cancer arrived. The teacher's decision was not to treat it. My jaw dropped and tears broke. Did she not love herself? Did she not love her students? I did not follow any longer. This was a person you could not understand.
During the chemo treatment, there was a support group I tried to be a part of to lift my spirits. Unfortunately, the results were not positive. One woman's story truly made me look like sunshine. The mother of hers, had lung cancer. The parents decided not to tell the daughters until one month prior to her passing. The daughters both had sadness and anger towards the decision. One had the genetic test and found a tumor in her ovary; while she was pregnant with twins. Her other son had and she also taught in a school part time for these types. As the cancer was removed, the birth of the twins came clean. She then developed more tumors throughout her torso. "My husband was there for me and then his ex-wife and two sons, lost their home and had to also move into our situation." The woman kept going and not sounding any lighter. I can continue, but there are many stories I've heard which can smack you in the face just as this one.
Don't need this Yes, cancer causes pain. Non stop pain for some people may occur. If you have children, you as a young or not as young adult, and elders, can all be hit. It's a virus. Look it up please. **(As per Wikipedia; Cancer is a group of HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease" \o "Disease" diseases in which HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_%28biology%29" \o "Cell (biology)" cells are aggressive (grow and HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_division" \o "Cell division" divide without respect to normal limits), invasive (invade and destroy adjacent tissues), and/or HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metastatic" \o "Metastatic" metastatic), spread to other locations in the body. Therefore, a virus can trigger any point of the body. You can be the healthiest of all and still find a tumor. The solutions doctors have now are helpful; Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, pills, and more. Every time my mother asks a doctor "Why Robin?" She is just not lucky.
Be Aware, have no fear, love your life and be aware of all things around you. I'm no doctor, I'm no celebrity, all I am is a person just like you.
Come back to the group.
Have A Dance For Me (HADFM.org)