“I’m sorry, you have cancer” are five words no one wants to hear yet, unfortunately, the sentence in not uncommon. Most people have been touched directly, or indirectly, by cancer and for all it is a life changing experience.
There was a bit of a cloud over the heads of Dave and Kathy Heinen when they got married in April, 2011. Dave was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 at the age of 59 and had surgery to remove the prostate. He experienced none of the typical physical side effects and considered the diagnosis and surgery to be a minor inconvenience. But in the back of the mind there is always the “what if” question.
Going through the cancer experience was not new to Dave. His first wife, high school sweetheart Sandi, battled breast cancer for the last 10 years of their 34 1⁄2 year marriage. Her never-give-up and deal-with-life as it comes attitude was an inspiration to all who knew her. It was during Sandi’s battle that Dave met Dr Deming for the first time. Little
did he know that their paths would cross again in several years when Dave experienced a recurrence of prostate cancer in 2012.
After successful radiation treatments proscribed by Dr Deming, Dave was encouraged to go on-line and get connected to Above and Beyond Cancer.
Dave’s cancer is not the exception in the Dave and Kathy’s journey. Kathy’s mom has breast cancer, Dave’s mom had breast cancer, Dave’s dad had colon cancer, Kathy’s brother-in-law had lymphoma, Kathy’s daughter had kidney cancer and Kathy’s first husband John lost a short battle with cancer.
Dave and Kathy have learned that the key word used to describe the cancer journey in so many of their friends and relatives is “had”. Early detection, healthy bodies and a positive “I can win” attitude has carried
many of their family throughout the individual journeys. That attitude is infectious and is very transmittable.
It is with the “I can win” attitude that Dave as a cancer survivor and Kathy as a registered nurse and supporter of Dave have chosen to be involved with Above and Beyond Cancer and the journey up the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. We are Christians with a firmly rooted belief that God is in control of all things and will not allow us to encounter more than we can humanly handle. We plan to carry many prayer flags as a tribute to those mentioned above and proudly unfurl them at the peak of our climb as a humble tribute to the “mountain climb” battle against cancer that was fought by those we love so dearly.
As we transform ourselves in preparation for the journey to Machu Picchu we fully anticipate that the journey itself will be transformational mentally, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and physically. We eagerly look forward to the metamorphic change in our lives and hope to be an inspiration to others as a result.