My husbands birthday - a golf tournament - April fools day - that was the days plan in 2011. The boys were off to a golf tourney in Williamsburg and I was enjoying a typical day at the office until I received a phone call that sent our world into yet another cancer tailspin. Dr. Jennifer Reed's office was on the other end of the line and begin to tell me that the scan/biopsy that was ordered after an abnormal mammogram was malignant cancer.
We had been in this same spot so many times before - I was now the 10th cancer patient in our family within an eight year span - including our daughter Lauren, who is now 10 years cancer free after being diagnosed with stage three brain cancer. Thinking again that this is the type of situation that happens to other families that you make a meal for or say a prayer for - but not ours!! Further testing would show that I carried the BRACA gene which would then spawn off another line of genetic cancers - patient 11 (my mom), patient 12 (my sister), patient 13 (my aunt).
The diagnosis of breast cancer came at at time that my daughter Chelsie was preparing for the first wedding in our immediate family - because of this we decided to keep things quiet in regards to the unknown yet familiar path that lied ahead for our family. I did not want people attending her wedding and the event turning into a "cry fest" over my fate. The day was to be about her and Sean - as it should be. The kids left for their honeymoon and surgery was scheduled for the Friday following their wedding - 5/20/11. Chelsie was torn between leaving for her honeymoon or staying her for my surgery and my amazing surgeon helped to encourage her to go ahead with her plans - it was not going to change the outcome of surgery and she could either sit in the waiting room and worry or wrap up her vacation and arrive home the day after - so glad she listened. The last thing I wanted was to disrupt our household again over this dreadful disease.
I vaguely remember the surgeon coming in and sitting on the end of my bed to tell me that we had a traveler and that it was in a lymph node under my arm? Stage two - are you kidding me - I thought this was going to be isolated to the one area......I did not know the journey that I would embark on would be leading me straight to what was about to transform our family again - Adipsy.
The first day of chemo - wow!! I had never been to the oncology department at this facility - but it was a very familiar hallway for my husband. His parents had both passed from colon cancer within a year of each other - he had spent many hours here as a supporter/son with both of them. My emotions were high - I began to think what am I putting Bill through again - so much cancer in so few years - ripping the bandaid off of the pain of losing his parents and now here with his wife.
It was during those dreadful chemo treatments in the adult world (Lauren was always admitted into the children's hospital for her treatments) that I began to take a look around me. People - women and men, young and old surrounding me in recliners lined up to take their poison that would hopefully cure them if not too much damage was done to their other organs. I remember one lady in particular - an elderly widow who had to come in for treatment every week of her life in order to keep her alive. Her hands and feet were cracked and raw - nerve endings were so painful for her. This beautiful lady had no one to stand in the gap with her - she would come alone to treatment - to return home where life was overwhelming. Just her daily chores and previous normal lifestyle was cumbersome to her now. Who was helping her? Something began to stir inside of me - how could I fix this? how could I help? ADIPSY was born!!
Today our family and friends join with me and celebrate "4" amazing years of being clean - but more than that we are celebrating the launch of ADIPSY. We have been busy working behind the scenes over the past few years laying a foundation that could give back to people like the poor widow, the single mom, the military vet, the retired school teacher, the parent that lost their job due to being with their child during treatment and the funerals of children whose parents were not prepared for this silent but fatal disease. Our family is so passionate about giving back to this community - will you partner with us today? If we each do our part we can ALL be ADIPSY to someone today.
- Christy McCloud, Board Director & President of Adipsy