CIBC Run For the Cure – Oct. 6
Featured Survivor Joyce Tucker, Shares Her Story
The annual CIBC Run for the Cure Miramichi will be held on Sunday, October 6, 2019 at the Kin Centre, 100 Newcastle Blvd, Miramichi. Run start time is at 1 p.m.
The CIBC Run for the Cure is a 5k or 1k walk or run that raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. It is the largest single-day, volunteer-led event in Canada in support of the breast cancer cause. To learn more and to register for the run visit: www.cibcrunforthecure.supportcbcf.com
The featured survivor for this year’s event is Joyce Tucker. She shares her triumphant and inspiring story with us here.
My name is Joyce Tucker and I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. I have now been cancer free for the past 36 years and this is a story of my journey and the battles of a lifetime.
I begin, I want to say that I am a wife, mother of four biological children, three stepchildren and ten grandchildren.
My story begins in the fall of 1983. I was 20 years old and a new mom with a six-month-old daughter. It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life.
I had noticed a lump in my breast while I was pregnant and associated it with pregnancy soreness due to hormones, and after giving birth I thought it was from not breast feeding.
I had a mammogram and other tests without much concern for it. Then I got the worst news of my life – I had Stage 1 Breast Cancer.
I thought I was going to faint. My whole world seemed like it had come crashing down around me. Then, I thought about my newborn baby and I knew that I wanted to see her grow up and I had to fight with all I had. So, I had a lumpectomy to remove the mass. I took radiation and after a long battle and what seemed an eternity of fighting, my tests revealed I was in remission. I was ecstatic and started enjoying life more and went on to have two more children in the next few years.
In 1987 I found out I was no longer in remission and the cancer had returned. I underwent the lumpectomy once again and the radiation and chemo. I thought that I could never fight this enemy again, but somehow, I was also fighting for my children and the right to raise them and see them grow.
During my battles, I can honestly say I went through periods of total mental anguish. I felt that nobody could possibly understand my pain and desperation to cling to life. I blamed God for being so unfair to me, and even lost my faith for the longest time. Each time I looked in the mirror, I hated the person looking back at me. The person who was so pale and had lost her hair only to look ugly and disgusting. All I could see was the skeleton of a woman that I was. I slowly withdrew from everyone and everything. Many times, the pain and anguish can easily overcloud the reason for your fight and you feel like giving in to it.
What saved me was the faces of my children, looking into their eyes, and I knew I had to fight with all I had to prove to my children that their mommy was a warrior, a fighter and a winner.
To make a long story short, I fought long and hard and won the battle, AGAIN! I made the decision to not take life for granted and make my life count in this world. I began looking at what was most important to me, my children and their future, their happiness and mine.
When you are faced with the toughest fight of your life, focus on what you want to achieve and what you do not want to lose. Never lose sight of what you are fighting for in the first place, THE RIGHT TO LIVE!.
When you notice that you’re having negative thoughts about how all of this is going to pan out, you need to remind yourself that you are not a very good fortune teller. We are not able to predict the future and all we can do is live in the present and take it one day at a time, one hour at a time. Every minute gained is a victory in itself.
I want people to think about how I fought it twice, how I won and how I came out even better on the other end. I want to encourage, inspire and motivate people to fight for their lives. Encourage women to be aware of their bodies and know what is normal for them. Don’t put off getting a mammogram because ignorance is not worth dying for. I want to inspire women who hear my story and are fighting breast cancer to know that there is hope and to fight on. And lastly, I want to motivate everyone no matter what their situation is and to strive to make each day count by being the best they can be mentally, physically and emotionally. Cancer woke me up big time and I feel like I have been given a second and third chance.
Cancer is such a frightening and emotional roller coaster that we are forced to go through. It’s a ride we all want to get off and forget the most horrifying ride of your life. When that happens, find and focus on what will hold you together. It could be family, religion, friends, a favorite sport, relaxation, yoga, music or even a peer support group. And lastly, sometimes our pets can be amazing healers for us. Your most secret and inner thoughts can be told to them freely without the fear of being judged. You then feel relieved that you told it, that it is out and gone to the wind.
And most important of all, be patient and don’t give up. Trust me when I say you will come out changed and stronger on the other end of this. Let cancer know that you are in the driver’s seat and you will steer your life in the direction you want to go, not the direction Cancer wants to take you. You will cross that Finish Line more determined than ever!
Joyce Tucker, Miramichi New Brunswick
This article was first featured in the 2019 Early Fall Issue of the Giv’er Miramichi Magazine!
Giv’er Miramichi is about “What’s up, what’s new, what’s happening”. We are focused on building people up, supporting one another and celebrating our successes.