As Breast Cancer awareness month draws to a close, the Jackson County Sun would like to remind everyone that awareness must continue for the other 11 months of the year. As early detection is the key to survival in the instance of not only breast cancers but other cancers and illnesses as well, we at the Sun encourage everyone to take advantage of early screenings for all forms of cancers and keep in mind the importance of your general overall health.
This week or Survivor story comes from Judy Sizemore who will share not only her story of survival but a bit of her poetry on the topic.
We would like to thank all three of the ladies who have shared their stories with us over the last three weeks. Your contributions have touched the hearts and minds of our readers and have encouraged them to look to their health. It may well be that the words shared by these survivors will even save a life or two.
Please remember that the Jackson County Cancer fund is still accepting donations. They work to ease the burden of Jackson County citizens who are struggling with diagnosis and treatment. The Cancer fund had to cancel their Festival of Hope this year due to Covid 19 but they are still in need of contributions so that they can continue to help people like Judy as they move through the journey toward, hopefully, their own survivor’s story. Those who would like to contribute to the Jackson County Cancer fund may make donations to the following address: Jackson County Cancer Fund – P.O. Box 1250 – McKee, KY 40447.
Here is Judy Sizemore’s Survivor story, in her own words.
By: Judy Sizemore
Cancer is a scary word – especially when it applies to you or a loved one. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and had a mastectomy and months and months of chemo at the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky. I was given the option to participate in a study to test a new combination of chemotherapy drugs, and I was glad to do that. I knew that my chances of survival were really good, even though the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes. And the reason my chances were so good was because of all the doctors and scientists and researchers who had devoted themselves to finding better treatments and better diagnostic procedures. It seemed a privilege to help that effort in some small way. I’ll admit – chemo was rough! I think I had every side effect in the book and maybe a few more besides, but I had an amazing treatment team – doctors and nurses that I grew to love for their compassion.
And I had a support team of family and friends that pretty much carried me through the whole ordeal with their love and thoughtfulness. People who went to chemo with me. People who prayed for and with me. People who called me and e-mailed me and sent me cards. My heart aches to think that there are women who have to go through this alone, women who continue to struggle with abuse or neglect while they are fighting for their lives.
I wasn’t born and raised in Jackson County, but I have been blessed to make my home here for close to 35 years. I knew I was among good people, but the support I had from this community was so strong, so constant, that it filled my heart to overflowing. I had never heard of the Jackson County Cancer Fund, but they reached out to me and offered their assistance. They gave me a gas card, which was a huge help with the constant travel to Lexington. And it helped in another way, too. It let me know I was not alone. I wish that everyone, everywhere had what we have here – strength in community, kindness, and caring. I not only survived, but I have been cancer-free for 14 years and still feel blessed to live in Jackson County.
This is surreal
I don’t have breast cancer
This is some kind of alternative reality and I will wake up soon
Everything back to normal
A hot bath – that helps
Sink down in the water
Forget that chemo is moving closer day by day
Forget about losing my hair and
Remember the other side
Remember swimming so far out in the lake
the sun setting
just so far and then swim back
where I am
anchored by my tribe
on the rocks behind me, joy
exulting in the green flash
shadowing an otter as he arrows
across the water
safe and free, I venture
just so far and no farther
then swim back
where I am anchored
Once in a while one of them
Swims out to
Check on me
A little old, a little daft
Still I can swim like the otter,
Like the loon
I will have to swim out
Farther than I wanted to
Bald and nauseous
And all out of whack
But I am anchored
And when I come back
It will be to starlight across the water
On the rocks behind me