Ever since I've been diagnosed, many people have told me stories of survival in order to encourage and support me through my treatment. I'm grateful for those stories, but the ones that really keep me fighting are the stories and experiences of my own family. Besides thinking of my brother-in-law, who passed away from lung cancer this summer, I also often have on my mind my great-aunt Betty, who passed away from breast cancer over twenty years ago.
And now, I'd like to pay tribute to my Uncle Pen, who kicked cancer's ass about ten years ago. Uncle Pen is definitely my favorite uncle. He had a pet raccoon (which he tamed himself); he caught wild turkeys and wrestled them in our family's pig pen; and he always gives me awesome deer jerky (uh, yeah, if you haven't figured it out by now, this blog is not vegetarian-friendly). He's a real-life Paul Bunyan, even to this day. And while I don't catch animals with my bare hands and kill them on the spot, I think I'm kicking cancer's ass with the same kind of spirit.
Here's me and Uncle Pen, about 30 years ago: