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"What I have learned is that my cancer brings out the very best in people."

A word about pain: I have lots of it on a daily basis. It did not occur to me that I would wake up sick one day and never get better. That is what incurable breast cancer is. It steals your time. It does not give back.

I was thrown into chemical menopause at 44. I was on a cancer medication for 10 long years that caused significant joint pain, stiffness and bone loss that required IV meds to contradict. I have arthritis the entire length of my spine, shoulders and wrists, brought on by the degenerative changes of aging as well as spinal stenosis and a bulging disc. Why do I mention this? Pain is a part of living, being out there in the world, being active, loving life. I do not complain about it because the great outdoors and physical activity have brought me so much joy. That I would not trade. Besides, I am awesome!

I hate when I hear someone somewhere say that cancer was a “gift” that led them to appreciate life more fully. What? I have plenty of appreciation of life without cancer added to the mix—-my beautiful daughters, my husband and my many friends and fantastic supportive co-workers. What I have learned is that my cancer brings out the very best in people. People want to connect and be in communion with me. I have heard from many former students and co-workers and long ago friends who want to remind me about something we shared or did, to boost my spirits, say hello or to pray for me. Bring that on!

Especially moving to me is the generosity of spirit–taking time to write me a letter or an e-mail. A retired teacher has taken up painting and gave me one of her beautiful framed paintings of a favorite spot in Borderland State Park.

My former co-workers at PSMS send me well wishes and raised money in my name for my favorite charity,, without being asked. A colleague of mine set up a baked goods sale outside the toy shop to raise money for METAvivor without being asked. The junior class is donating money from sweatshirt sales to METAvivor without being asked.

[tr-shareit ]What I have learned is that my cancer brings out the very best in people.[/tr-shareit]

All of this takes time. But love always shows up. I am so inspired by all of this. I am the female George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life–I get to hear feedback and feel the love of so many before I am actually dead and eulogized. Cancer has given me that.

My song: Take Your Time by Sam Hunt (I feel like it’s the cancer singing to me)