Cancer patient celebrates no evidence of disease with headstands

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LR headstands.JPGBy Linda Ryan

Who ever thought a dare would turn into the way you told your friends there's no evidence of cancer in your body?

I traveled to Houston with my friend Barbara for every other cancer treatment. Around the fifth treatment, she was waiting for me while I was seeing Shannon Westin, M.D., after a scan.   

Barbara was texting with a friend of hers who dared her to stand on her head and sing songs in the gynecological clinic waiting room. She promptly flipped her feet above her head onto the fish tank and sang.  

When she was done, she took a bow for the family watching her and motioned for them to clap for her. They did, cautiously. She even asked a stranger to video her doing it.   

I'm not sure I laughed harder during those six months of treatment than I did when I watched the video.    

Headstands to celebrate the end of my cancer
On the day of my ninth treatment, we decided that we would do headstands if Dr. Westin told me the cancer was gone. We'd post a picture on Facebook so everyone would know I was done with treatment.

When we came out of the exam room after tears of joy, we asked someone to take our picture doing headstands at the fish tank. We did headstands everywhere we went that day and sent pictures to our friends and families.  

Headstands were being done across the country. My youngest son was on a class trip to Tallahassee, and his whole class did a headstand.  

My older son and a few friends were called out of class to go to the school gym and do headstands.  

Friends in our hometown and throughout the country posted pictures of themselves, their families and even their pets doing headstands.  

We counted over 240 pictures posted to our Facebook pages.  

Why the headstand pictures still make me smile
People still post headstand pictures on my Facebook Timeline.  

This past winter several people posted snowman headstands posted. A friend gave me a mug with Santa doing a headstand.    

Sometimes I still look at the headstand pictures and smile. They remind me that the journey was difficult, but that there was laughter along the way and choosing my attitude worked for me. The day that Dr. Westin told me there was no evidence of disease was one of the best days that I can remember.  

They also remind me of something I couldn't have known at the time: Taking along a friend who will make you laugh during cancer treatment may help you even more than the strongest dose of chemo.  

Linda Ryan thought she had checked cancer off her list. Having just run her first marathon, it was hard to imagine that her cervical cancer had returned after seven years. Cancer chose the wrong woman. She was ready to battle cancer for the third time with health, laughter and friendship. Follow Linda Ryan at

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