Numb. I don’t remember anything after that. I didn’t tell my family for another month enjoying the feeling that it wasn’t true. I called the Physician’s Assistant a couple of times to ask her to read my chart again, double check the name, ok? I hoped I was having a psychotic break with reality and making it all up. So then I would just have a diagnosis of mental illness but not terminal cancer. I wished I had something easier to live with like HIV, since that is no longer a fatal diagnosis.
Telling my family was hard. It was particularly excruciating telling my daughter whose eyes slowly filled with tears as she realized what I was saying. We had become incredibly close since travelling together. Lexei my 16 year-old seemed to take it in stride, almost with a shrug of “why worry today about what won’t happen until tomorrow.” Tenzin at 19 became silent, brooding in a very private way."
"I began my lifelong interest in other cultures in India at 19. Now I would like to return to India for a final trip to bring an awareness of a cervical cancer that is preventable, treatable, and if caught early enough, curable. I would like to leave a legacy for my own children and for women and girls in India.
The reason I am writing is that I have this dream of being one of the first women, if not the first person, to Stand up Paddle from Rishikesh to Varanasi in India. It would be an epic trip, my final act, encompassing a great sporting feat, a spiritual journey, and a platform to bring awareness to the evils of cervical cancer, which kills 74,000 women a year in India.
To support Michele’s dream of bringing awareness to cervical cancer which kills 74,000 women in India each year CLICK HERE and you will be transferred to the Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer web page where you can make a secure donation to the Michele Baldwin Living Memorial.