Swimming With The Sharks

Great news! For my friends and family that have been praying me through this latest cancer scare, thank you! I finally got all my test results and I’m very grateful to tell you I am still a PREVIVOR!!! No cancer.  I have anemia, but it is not caused by cancer.  It’s an iron deficiency.  I am so thankful that I don’t have cancer. I’m so thankful for your love, support, and encouragement.

Years ago, the first time I met a group of people like me that have Lynch Syndrome, I met a man that gave me a very powerful analogy of what he thinks it’s like living with Lynch Syndrome, a hereditary cancer syndrome. He said he asks people if they’ve seen the movie Jaws. They invariably hum the Jaws theme song. He tells them it is like he and his family are in shark infested waters every day.  Over the years he’s watched one shark attack after another and another.  He’s in the water too.  It’s very scary in the water, constantly hearing that music, always waiting and watching to see who will be next, how bad the attack will be, and whether they will survive or not.  At times the water feels like a feeding frenzy is happening all around him  and they will never get out of the water unless they are attacked and die.

At that time, I could very much relate to his analogy.  I’ve been in those waters for 60 years now (my whole life), watching my family get attacked.  Watching many of my family members get attacked multiple times. Watching 10 family members not survive.  Watching my sister personally get attacked over and over and over again after her 19 year old beautiful son didn’t survive an attack.

When I first found out my family had Lynch Syndrome, and I also have it, I was scared every single day.  I thought about cancer every single day. I worried every day about whether my turn would be next and whether it would end my life here on earth and I’d be joining my family in heaven. If it were not for my strong Christian faith, I don’t know how I could have functioned with all that fear I was living with. I felt exactly like that analogy.  But.  Over time, because (in this case) knowledge is absolutely, truly power, my family stopped having attacks that took our lives.  Zero cancer deaths since our diagnosis.  Yes, my sister has still had cancer multiple times, but she is a survivor.  Because of my surveillance, I’ve been caught 6 times in the precancerous stage.  For me the very best part has been finding out my son and two of my sisters tested negative for our genetic mutations.  Knowing that they are not in the water with us is incredible! Knowing my grandchildren will never be in the water because their daddy, my son, is free of our mutation just makes me feel even safer.

Although I will never get out of the shark infested waters, I’m no longer afraid.  Not at all.  Because our lives and outcomes have changed, I’ve added my own new twist to the analogy.  Knowing we have Lynch Syndrome has given us all we need to fight and prevent cancers.  Our diagnosis basically put us all in a really great shark cage. I am swimming with the sharks.  Unafraid.

Knowing has saved my family.  But it isn’t enough.  There are far too many other families swimming around completely oblivious to the danger they are in. The reason I tell our story so loudly and so often is to try and save those other families.  It’s me saying “we are going to need a bigger boat!” We need to get these families into the safety of our shark cage! Please help me spread the word! Please help me run up and down the beach yelling, “get out of the water!”

If you think your family is in the shark infested waters with mine, please gather your family cancer history and go to www.hereditarycancerquiz.com.  Hopefully you will find out you aren’t in the water at all. But if you are, please join me in my shark cage.  I’m swimming around in here unafraid, full of faith, and very grateful .