Jan H, cancer survivor since 1995
I moved to Austin nearly 12 years ago. I came here with a horse, a dog and a 10x12 u-haul. I knew no one. I was broken when I moved to Austin and I needed a fresh start.
My first cancer, Hodgkins, was diagnosed a year and a half before I arrived in Austin. The treatment had been difficult and resulted in permanent damage to my heart function. But I lived, that was the good news. And I was "cured".
I was flying high UNTIL after one year and 2 months of living here, they found a spot on my right kidney.
I fought the doctors on this. I LEFT CANCER IN ST LOUIS! The only possibility was to remove the kidney to know for sure. Two days post op when I found out that I had Renal Cell Carcinoma, you could have knocked me over with a feather. No one here knew me very well..so I looked fine, but down deep I wasn't. Post the surgery, I was exhausted all of the time and I felt certain that death was darkening my door. My heart didn't/doesn't work right from all of the radiation. I was a mess, but no one local figured it out. I carried on to the best of my emotional ability.
Lance's first book came out, I read it. I got inspired to do a woman's bike ride through the Canadian Rockies (it nearly killed me), but the exercise was GREAT for me. Someone mentioned Team Survivor to me. I had tried cancer support groups to no avail, but in team survivor, the coaches accepted my heart and worked with me. The team members were all scarred up and had different ailments but they kept going. My team members inspired me. I completed my first triathlon (I've done 12 now). It's 10 years since the second cancer, and by golly I have had to accept it, I might live to a VERY old age. There are many things that helped me to turn this corner, but Team Survivor is no small part of this.
We have found that Team Survivor hasn't been a compelling get out your check book kind of cause (even though to me it should be). I want us to raise as much money as we can for many reasons but not the least is so that Team Survivor can have programs and awareness in this community, so that ALL of the Jan Hill's who need Team Survivor will find her!
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