Taking Back the “Old” Me

Blog by Camper Danny Lanka, a.k.a. “Babe”. Attended camp in 2015.

The day I knew for sure I had cancer was the absolute worst day of my life. The day before, I saw end of my time on Earth as someplace WAY over the horizon, 20 or maybe 30 years away. Then, in the blink of an eye, my end was at my feet. I spent all of my energy beating the beast into a very small corner of my life. The problem was I became very hesitant to do much, always paranoid about infections, and my energy levels were sapped by nearly four years of chemo. I thought much of the active life I’d had before was gone forever. Enter Epic Experience. The river guides and the volunteers didn’t allow us to wallow in our “new” normal. We got geared up and jumped head first into the river. Well, we were in kayaks, but my point is “We were doing it!” Watching the sheer joy of the Epic experience crew taking care of us was life changing. I realized how I could take back some of the “old” me. Fear was replaced with that joy of a new way to look at what I could do with proper motivation. We, the campers, were gently forced to be in the now. No phones, no texts, no real worries for seven glorious days of adventure on the 7W Ranch and the river with fellow survivors and caregivers. Oh, did I mention the food? Holy moly, did we eat! I know this is a bit long-winded, but I could go on and on. I was changed in ways I still don’t have the words to explain. I will give back, as a volunteer or with donations or as a herald of all the good things Epic Experience is and does. Shukron gezeelon! (that’s a thousand thank you’s in Arabic). Much love, “Babe.”