I will keep walking until I no longer can, but I need your help.
It has taken me months to decide whether I will be able to WALK in this event again this year. Crazily, I will be having my 5th chemo treatment (of my second round in the last 12 months) the day before, but I have decided to WALK anyway. I am WALKING because I can. Maybe I'll be slow, maybe I'll need help, but I will make it because I always do. I am WALKING because it is what I can do to help find a cure for this disease. I am WALKING because I know I can help raise money that will help fund important research and treatment at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the hospital that saved my life and the lives of thousands of others. I am WALKING because too many awesome people have lost their lives to this disease. I am WALKING because it needs to stop and you can help me in my mission by making a donation here: angielmorris
Your donation will not only help me and thousands of other Canadians fighting this disease through important advancements in treatment, but it may also help you, your family, and your children, by funding important research into finding a cure.
As many of you may know, it has been a tumultuous year for me and my family. I found out that cervical cancer had returned to a lymph node near my spine last summer. I was cycling and running and enjoying life just like you, and thought the pain in my back was just a result of too much exercise. But sadly, a CT scan/MRI in August confirmed the cancer had returned. Originally, the diagnosis was good. It was isolated and would be resected via surgery September 30th. We all breathed a sigh of relief. But unfortunately, the night before the surgery, my surgeon called me at home to tell me that my surgery was cancelled. The tumour was more complicated than he had anticipated. It was abutting my spine, and encapsulated major veins, arteries, and my left ureter. In short, the surgery was too risky, and it could not be performed without life threatening results. “What kind of results could be worse than cancer?” I asked. “Paralysis, or worse, mortality,” he replied. “Angie, you might not make it.” Those words still ring in my ears today. I wanted to sink into the floor, to be swallowed whole in that moment. But thankfully, I decided to WALK ON.
I can never explain what it felt like to hear that news. My mom had already flown up from Nova Scotia to take care of my children (Ava-12 and Jax-5) and we were doing our best to celebrate my last meal with the kids for awhile. I was making the best of it because that is what I have to do for them, and for myself. It was devastating, horrendous, debilitating, and literally sucked the hope from my body as if it was draining my last breath. I had read enough to know that without surgery, my chances of living to see the next Christmas were a long shot, let alone to see Ava graduate from high school, or my son, Jax, reach Grade 1. People take for granted that they will live to see their children grow into adults. But I’d been praying for this since 2012, when my cancer first arrived. I’d been praying for this every day and now my hope was crashing all around me. But I decided to keep believing, praying, wishing, and decided not to crumble but to WALK ON.
I started aggressive radiation therapy with concurrent chemotherapy in early October. The pain that resulted was worse than anything I had ever endured. By Halloween, I was taking over ten morphine pills a night, plus various other painkillers trying to diminish the pain but nothing worked. I was still shaking, vomiting, and crying all night unable to sleep for days. My family watched helplessly wondering how long I could continue this way. I knew it was terrible, and watching them hurt was killing me, but I had to keep WALKING. Thankfully, the pain started to subside. Mid-treatment results on my birthday in November showed little progress. I was convinced that the tumour had shrunk. But it hadn’t. The news stung hard, but I decided to keep WALKING.
In January, after 35 radiation treatments and 5 chemo sessions, the news was the same. The tumour hadn’t grown, but it hadn’t shrunk either. After all that pain and suffering, it hadn’t worked. Almost as stubborn as me, the cancer was still there. The news was bleak, so bleak I didn’t share it. The surgery had been deemed too risky, and, “it was just a matter of time.” I tried to hear this news. I tried to understand, accept, and allow it to sink in. For four long days, I thought, these respected experts, which I have known for three years, are telling me that I won’t make it, and I need to start to prepare for that. I allowed myself to believe them for those four days. I felt the earth calling me and telling me it would be easier to just let go. But in my heart of hearts I had always known I’d make it. I had to. I needed to WALK ON. So on day five I shook my head and said, “hell no”, and started to amp up all of the things I was doing to make myself better and I refused to accept the news. I WALKED into their offices and asked for the surgery. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, but I asked for it, and we discussed it and I met four different surgeons, heard all of their concerns, and said I wanted to do it anyway. It was my best chance to keep WALKING LONG TERM. Finally, after confirming that there was nothing they could say that would change my mind, they agreed to do it.
Choosing to undergo a surgery that I may not wake up from, or that is likely to result in life-altering results, is not a decision I took lightly, especially as a mother. I knew I might be robbing my children of the one or two good years we had left together. I can’t begin to express the heart wrenching heaviness but I held on to what my heart told me was right and I WALKED ON. I believed, and I am still here. The surgery was a miracle success. I woke up with all of my body parts still intact, and working as well as could be. I would still be able to WALK, breathe, live, and continue in this world. It was all I could have hoped for and more. The recovery took time, but it was nothing compared to what could have been. The doctors at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (and the others they had commissioned to help) had literally saved my life. I had another chance at living.
But sadly cancer is a cloud that never really fades away. It moves farther away and closer at times, but despite all the sunshine and sparkles in the world it never really disappears. Thus, in May, despite the miracle surgery, I was advised to undergo an aggressive preventative chemotherapy regime to try to delay its return or in my mind to ensure it leaves me alone forever. It wasn’t a unanimous recommendation, there is no science for someone in my situation, the treatments are brutal, and the positive effects unclear. While I longed to put it all behind me and end the journey for my family, I knew I needed to do everything I could to be here for as long as possible. So I decided to WALK ON and that is where I am today. I just finished round four of these treatments and it has definitely been brutal. After the first treatment, I couldn’t eat for ten days, threw up for seven days, lost ten pounds, my hair, got so dehydrated my kidneys stopped functioning, and was carried out of the house infront of my children and rushed to emergency because we thought I was having a heart attack.
But, I WALK ON, as I always do because it is what I have to do for my family, and for myself. Things have improved, and I have only two more treatments left. Despite the chemo, I am WALKING, head and heels high, making the best of it. But now I REALLY need your help. I need your support and love in the form of donations. I am WALKING in this event to help find a cure. So many of you ask how you can help me, what you can do, and this is my wish. I wish and pray for a cure, and this is way I can help make it happen. Please support me in my walk, by donating here: angielmorris
This isn’t just my journey – it’s yours, too. I am so grateful for all of your prayers, love, well wishes, and support. But they alone don't help find a cure for all of us. Please help me end cancer forever by donating today.
Eternally grateful. Angie xo
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