This weekend mark's the 25th annual Avera Race Against Breast Cancer.
Nearly everyone in the race has a story about their own fight against breast cancer or that of a loved one.
KSFY News reporter Mark Roper introduces us to one Sioux Falls woman who decided to tell her journey with breast cancer in her own words. Her name is Amy Morrison and she's a wife, a mother, a voice teacher, and I must admit, quite an amusing person.
She also just happens to have breast cancer. But she doesn't want to be defined by cancer.
And some of us may choose to forget the challenging times in our lives but not Amy.
"In a year, all of this will be a foggy memory and I need to remember what god has brought me through. That for me is really important, that we have monuments in our lives. This is a pretty monumental thing," Morrison said.
Amy is a woman who almost always has a smile on her face or makes others laugh, she's also a woman who happens to have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer. But she's not prepared to call it an illness.
"You're first day of the diagnosis, I told my husband, I'm only going to do this once and we sobbed and cried and then we pulled it together," Morrison said.
So Amy packed her bags for her first big trip to the hospital...
"I journaled one day at home, just writing it out and stuff and then I thought there's going to be people who want to know about this, that want to know what I'm going through. And if I have hundreds and hundreds of people saying how can I pray for you, this is specific," Morrison said.
...and turned her journal into an Internet blog she calls 'This Does Not Define Me.'
"Thanks for checking in, it's 8 plus days since my first chemo treatment and here's how it's gone this week," Morrison blogged.
Day one, Thursday, really, I felt fine, matt and I were both exhausted after that first infusion. Me, from the anti-anxiety meds they pumped into me. I don't think those are really necessary. and probably from the anti-nausea meds, those did a great job," Morrison blogged.
"One of the things that writing does is help me decompress. it helps me put all of these thoughts that are swirling around in my head that don't stick very well, down on... well cyberspace where I can go back to them and remember those feelings," Morrison said.
"And it begins in earnest, this is chemo day one.... I took a shower, put on my makeup and decided to curl my hair so I still look pretty for my last day of last day of long lovely locks. many people have asked about the plans for my hair," Morrison blogged.
Most women would enjoy a day at the salon, and though she's preparing for losing her hair, Amy's no exception.
"I'm going to have a gal from our church cut it, she's a stylist and her daughter is fighting through childhood cancer," Morrison blogged.
"I haven't had a real haircut from a professional in quite a while. So it was nice to be pampered. Becka was awesome, she had great stories to share about Addie's hair loss, that seems weird but it wasn't, for when my hair starts to grow back. She kept things fun and light," Morrison blogged.
Amy seems to find the bright spot in what others may see as the darkest of times. She even calls having her hair cut and getting a wig, a fun day.
"That I'll have a sense of normalcy, that I don't have to stand out as the bald lady in the parking lot or whatever there are some things about this disease that just identify you immediately as cancer patient, and you can hide that with a wig," Morrison said.
"I kept telling people 'did you see my hair, it's great, I have great hair, so I've had to come to grips with losing that, definitely, and so I'm in a better place than when I was, when I first found out, when I was first diagnosed," Morrison added.
And when she's not feeling her best, Amy keeps on blogging.
"Day three, Saturday, useless, well, mostly.... Day four, Sunday, even more useless, I could barely stand up at church.... Day five, Monday, I went back to work, I was awesome, not," Morrison blogged.
Going through chemo, Amy says it's easy to forget things. So she relies on her blog to cherish those memories.
"It's a lot easier when I know that it's not terminal. Once I realized this wasn't going to kill me, it definitely made it easy for me to be really positive about it. but even at that, we're never guaranteed tomorrow," Morrison said.
"That's how my first week went did you notice, no vomiting, and I haven't been terribly motivated to do a lot, nothing's terribly appealing to my cardboard palate but I have been eating and keeping it down so he's answered the prayer," Morrison blogged.
But answered prayers are not enough for everyone.
"My son wants guarantees. he wants numbers, he wants percentages and there's a ninety-percent chance that my treatment will be successful, which for me is pretty darn good odds," Morrison said.
"With the tremendous number of people that I have following my blog, praying for me, supporting me, helping me, coming to my home, and just bringing me meals and cleaning my house, and just all of the sweet things people are doing for me I just feel that kind of positive is making up for that last 10 percent," Morrison said.
Friday, December 13 2013 4:02 PM EST2013-12-13 21:02:52 GMT
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