It was sometime after my third surgery for Stage IIb breast carcinoma, while waiting to see my oncologist, that I picked up the Hope Lives - Style magazine issue. I looked at my fellow warriors with a mix of admiration and envy. Admiration for their strength and ability to be joyous during adversity. Envy because I couldn't imagine ever getting there myself. My treatment, in the end, would consist of a double mastectomy requiring five surgeries in 15 months, 20 rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 cycles of radiation. A tsunami of love carried me through this time. It was one of the most awe inspiring and humbling experiences of my life. Friends and family rallied around us for months. My husband became my biggest cheerleader. A friend coined the term "cancer door prize" for the incidental good things that come out of this terrible disease. Things like not having to style your hair for a year or a free 6-month membership at Miramont Lifestyle Fitness or the amazing services provided by Hope Lives. By far our biggest "cancer door prize" has been the amazing changes in our
Deanna looks sophisticated in a long knit black cardigan by Black Tape, $92, topping a taupe silky tank by Blu Pepper, $54, and black stretch denim jeggings by Just Black, $76. A long chain link necklace, $62, beaded hoop earrings, $28, and triple sparkly beaded bracelets, $52, add the sparkle. Courtesy of Apricot Lane Boutique, Fort Collins.
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Theresa sports the trendy colors of fall. Smart willow faux-leather zip jacket by Alfani, $119.50, tops leaf-print trapeze, $79.50, and Style & Co. straight leg slacks, $27.98. Abalone and gold three-strand necklace, $48, hoop earrings, $95, and American Rag faux-suede black short booties, $69.50, are the perfect accents. Courtesy of Macy’s Centerra, Loveland.
The perfect October day on a scenic country club golf course – this is where cancer first became personal for me. It’s a word heard so frequently, but always in the context of “others,” not you. Until it is you and then there is only shock. The cancer journey is like a sophisticated puzzle whose pieces might all be there but the meaning and significance materialize over time. It’s foreign, has its own vocabulary, and is overwhelming and barraging. The learning curve is daunting and inescapable, but out of necessity you will learn this new world. I was very fortunate in that my tumor was small, not genetic, and caught early thanks to regular mammograms and ultrasounds. I was a good candidate for a lumpectomy and radiation treatment, and within 4 ½ months I was finished with my treatments and cancer free. I was also left feeling somewhat lost and beat up by my whirlwind experience. Sometimes I felt almost guilty telling people I had cancer and I found myself discounting all I had gone through because my story sounded easier than most I heard. I started throwing around this idea of “easy cancer” in an effort to see where I fit into the authentic cancer experience. It was frustrating and difficult to explain to others but reconciling this became very important to me. I wanted to understand why I felt this way and how to come to terms with my own cancer story without comparing it to others. And funny enough, along this road, the one thing I avoided was other people with cancer. That is, until God stepped in with His sense of humor and an opportunity for healing. CONTINUED ON PG 50
Published on Aug 31, 2017