When I was diagnosed, May 9, 1995, 11:08 a.m., I thought my entire world had collapsed. How could this be? I had no previous history. I was the healthiest person I knew: low fat diet, exercise, everything in moderation. I thought I was about to orphan my children, to leave my husband and never see my family again. It never occurred to me before that moment that I would not be here to attend a graduation or marriage ceremony.
The most important thing that happened to me when I was diagnosed was the realization that I could not afford to take anything for granted. I had to really appreciating my life. I had to recognize the fact that a single cell can and will change your life drastically. That life can be over in a flash. But hearing the words “…you have cancer,” made me understand how much I had to cherish and love my life and everything about it. I have always been an optimist; my friends sometime refer to me as sunshine in their lives. I had to realize how important friendships are.
Early during my recovery, my husband told me he was so lucky to have the opportunity that every man dreams about: the opportunity to show the woman he promised to love and cherish that he IS her “Knight in shining Armour.” He felt I had been his hero; he could now be mine. My son drew pictures of Pac Man like predators that gobbled up cancer cells. That visualization made recovery real for him. At bedtime my daughter re-read her favorite stories with new surprise endings that included all of us happy together. The best thing about my survival is that we all survived: my kids my husband, our parents, our families and even our pets. We all became stronger. There was something new propping us up, holding us together…the realization that every day is precious and every moment should be appreciated. I have learned never squander an opportunity to tell those I care for that I love them and how special they are to me.