CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - ALLYSON's JOURNEY: Installment 12
A 39-year-old Charlotte mom is battling aggressive breast cancer. Allyson Gahan has no family history. She's young. Vibrant. Her world was rocked when the diagnosis came late last year. Allyson asked, would she be able to do a personal blog through this page? She wanted to showcase the reality of how life changes when cancer hits. Brilliant idea. She sends Molly Grantham her raw thoughts – Molly write them into a "blog". Here's her most recent.
An Open Letter to Survivors and Those Fighting:
The last good memory I had with my father was sitting in my living room watching the 2014 ESPYs. Stuart Scott had just received the Jimmy V Award and delivered one of the most poignant speeches I'd ever heard. It was made even more special because my father, who had always been a source of strength for my family, was battling stage 4 Multiple Myeloma. This hideous disease took a once towering, strong and life-loving man and left him almost unrecognizable. He was 100-lbs lighter and hunched over from constant back pain. We both wept as we watched Stuart. The speech reverberated in our hearts…
"When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live."
I have had this weighing on my heart and mind over the past week, perhaps in lieu of the Race for the Cure this Saturday and watching the breast cancer profiles Molly highlighted last week on WBTV. Those women (and one man) were inspirational. I met one yesterday, Kasandra Hegwood, at our team t-shirt pick-up (that's us pictured here). Some of those profiled had beat cancer, only for it to come back again. And then there's the #MollysKids I've read about who have been fighting their own forms of cancer… they are also true fighters. They are heartbreaking to see. It has put so much in perspective.
But I am writing this letter not as much for them… or for us living with adult cancers… I'm writing it for the unsung heroes. The ones we rarely talk about. The caregivers.
When we are too weak, or just don't feel like we have it in us, our caregivers take over. Whether it's my husband, my family, friends, or even my own children… they fight when we can't. They hold our hands, wipe our tears, encourage and help us heal with laughter.
The hardest part of my father's battle with cancer was that WE had to let go of HIM. We had to let him know it was okay for him to stop fighting and that those of us left behind would be okay. He won his battle with cancer, as Stuart Scott eloquently said, by how he lived his life and the manner in which he lived. He left this world knowing he would soon be in a place of complete peace and healing, reunited with those who passed before him. He would be whole again. For that, I celebrate. I do. I really do celebrate for him… but like so many others who lose a loved one, I also miss him Every.Single.Day.
For anyone who has lost someone to cancer… I am sorry. My heart goes out to you. I hope you can be inspired by the life they led.
For those of us still in the thick of it, and most certainly for our caregivers who fight with us… it's what Jimmy V said.. "Don't give up, don't ever give up".
Thank you all for reading these Installments. I wasn't sure if I should be so public with the reality cancer brought into my life. It was scary to be so open and talk candidly. Reading your comments over the past six months made me realize I'm far from alone -- we're all in it together.
Doggie Daycare offers to help Allyson!: http://tinyurl.com/ok2pvut