Honorary Race Chair Michelle Bynum recently found out that her metastatic breast cancer is spreading. Over the next few months, as we prepare for the Race, Michelle and her family are sharing their stories with us. This week, Michelle and her sister Tiffany send their thoughts.
Recently we learned that the last round of Michelle’s chemotherapy isn’t doing the trick. While the bones are stable (very good thing), the lesions on her liver and the lymph nodes in her chest have increased in size. It was a blow that yet another chemotherapy treatment isn’t working, but I personally say good riddance to that concoction! It was making Michelle very sick and was gut-wrenching to watch. Michelle has started a new chemotherapy treatment that is a cousin to the drug that put her into remission for two years, so I am very hopeful that this one will be successful. I choose to focus on all of the positive things. Sometimes we focus so heavily on the negative that we fail to recognize the blessings right in front of us -- like Michelle throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Round Rock Express Susan G. Komen Pink in the Park night last week. (See Michelle’s story below)
I was gifted with an amazing opportunity to make some great memories with my five-year-old son Reid. As Honorary Race Chair, I was invited to throw the first pitch at the Susan G. Komen “Pink In The Park” Night at the Round Rock Express. Given my questionable athletic abilities, coupled with the side effects of chemotherapy (zero energy & neuropathy in hands); I had reason to be concerned with the potential final resting place of the baseball. As I saw our image appear on the towering giant screen, I prayed for God to help me deliver the ball over home plate. “Nervous” and “fearful of looking like a fool” doesn’t give the moment justice. I scanned the stands for my family and friends dressed in our signature “Michelle’s Angels” shirts - the ultimate support team.
As I knelt down to Reid’s height to point out our “Angels”, it occurred to me that the sheer number of supporters far exceeded my expectations. Fellow survivors and complete strangers were cheering us on. With Reid by my side, we walked to the top of the pitcher’s mound. Reid kissed the ball for good luck and I did my best to wind up and throw it straight. To everyone’s surprise, the ball went directly to the catcher (with significant arch, but to him nonetheless). I was relieved beyond words and my little guy was so excited to hear the crowd’s approval.
What an incredible experience for the two of us to share! This feeling of goodwill, community love and support is a perfect example of the camaraderie at all Komen Austin events. Anyone who’s dealt with cancer’s intrusion shares and relates with personal struggles, challenges, fears and accomplishments. Komen Austin is truly an extended family.
I am looking forward to the Race this year. It is more important than ever to be with my “Angels” and draw on their strength and support. We look forward to joining you at for the Race for the Cure on November 1, 2009.
With all my heart,
To read Michelle’s full story online and learn how you can join the 2009 Race for the Cure at komenaustin.org.