Today turned out rather interesting and not at all as I planned when I got up. I did some exercise this morning and told my wife I was feeling pretty good today and I would take the kids out so she could have some time to herself. It doesn't happen as much as I would like, so when I am up for it I try. I took the kids for haircuts and then to lunch, next stop was the park. When we got to the park at the high school there were a lot of cars there and one parking lot was closed, there was an event taking place.
We went to play for a while, wound up going for a hike, and then were going to head back home. As we were getting ready to head out we heard music coming from the football field and the boys wanted to check it out. I was feeling a bit tired but still pretty good so I pushed forward. When we got up the field we walked in and there were signs for Relay for Life, we got funneled onto the track and the next thing I know we are walking around the track doing laps. Someone handed my kids lanyards and explained with each lap they would get beads. My oldest loves this kind of thing and we started accumulating beads. I had to laugh at the irony as I was walking.
During our walks we were passing by different booths reading different tributes and all the other things you would expect at a cancer fund raiser. Mind you, my children and most people in my town do not know about my CML. A short while later the opening ceremony started. A little girl who had survived cancer gave the opening commencement speech. All I can say is that I am glad I was wearing my sun glasses. Next thing up was the survivor lap, this is where all the survivors walked a lap to mark their beating cancer, I was reminded that we never really get to call ourselves survivors, our battle is ongoing. I'm not a survivor, I'm surviving!
Just as the lap started and the music came on (Josh Grobin - You Raise Me Up) there was not a dry eye in the place, one of my wife's friends walked up to me and gave me a hug. She knows about my CML and her 9 year old son is an ALL survivor and he was walking around in the survivor lap. The second lap was for the caregivers to walk with the survivors and she pulled me by the hand with my kids and we walked the second lap with her son. It was so surreal as we walked around the stadium with people cheering and clapping, I just looked at her and said "I don't know how I got here". As I recall the day I realize that I meant that on many different levels.
It was unique moment for me to be in as I come up on my one year anniversary in a couple of weeks. Last night we took the kids to a circus at their school, we had attended the same circus last year and it is the last memory I have before being diagnosed. It's been a strange year and today was an interesting day. Despite it all, on more than one occasion today I stopped, looked up to the sky, took in a deep breath, and felt grateful to be alive.....