I found out today that 2 melanoma warriors that I follow, Randi and Andy have recently lost their battles with Melanoma. My heart was broken to hear this news because both were extraordinary people who fought with so much courage, optimism, hope, and determination. Both were married with children. Both were always encouraging others who were fighting along side of them, myself included. Both inspired many to keep on going, to never give up, and as Andy would always say, "Remember everyday to put one foot in front of the other, drink a lot of water, and don't forget to breathe."
Every time I hear about another melanoma warrior that has passed, my heart stops for a bit. It's always a reminder to me of how fragile life is, how awful melanoma can be, and that I am blessed to be alive still. I do not take my health for granted. And I never will. Everyday is a gift, every breath is precious, and every clean scan is the greatest blessing and answer to my prayers that I could ask for. The way I see it, every time I get good results I have just "bought myself another 3 months"! I am grateful that I still have a chance to be living, to be here with my family, and to enjoy life to the fullest.
Sometimes I am torn with guilt--why do these innocent people, who aren't any different or any less valuable than I, get taken away so suddenly while I am still here? Or does it just mean that my time hasn't come yet, but will soon enough? I know that's a morbid thought, but when you are faced with this disease, you can't help but wonder that sometimes. Of course, I know people that are still alive, like me, that have beaten the odds and are living proof that miracles don't cease. I know that I am one of those. But it just doesn't seem fair when I get to be here and someone else doesn't.
The thing about melanoma though is that it almost always has a way of finding it's way back. It is a sneaky, sneaky disease. There is no cure, and I would never say that I am "cured". I simply have a chronic disease that is currently in remission. I can only hope and pray that I am here long enough that when or if it does make it's way back, there are better solutions and treatments available to halt it's growth once again.
This road is a long one. It is definitely not a sprint, more like a ultra marathon. If there is one thing that I have learned in my life through my challenges it is PATIENCE and the ability to persevere. It's a good thing that I have a strong will to live, a very stubborn and competitive streak, and more determination than I know what to do with. I don't give any credit to myself either. I know it is my Heavenly Father who has provided me with all these "tools" to keep on keepin' on and that is exactly what I plan to do.