Featured Survivor

this week… Jan Sarpa, Breast cancer

Survivor since 2003…

I discovered my lump myself six years ago, underwent lumpectomy surgery, and since I had “stage one” breast cancer, went to [Shaw Medical Center in] Edwards for radiation. The most moving thing to me was all of my girlfriends got together and drove me every day to Edwards for the 6 weeks of radiation. Not once did I drive myself! Also, my college aged daughter, Emily, dropped everything for the summer, and took care of me too. I had another girlfriend who constantly brought over food, because she knew I would be tired.

I am a psychotherapist, and I thought I was empathetic before I got B.C., but, I know I have grown 100% in that area. Any one who has had cancer knows what a difference it makes in your life. You really learn to live in the NOW. I know it has affected my husband, John, too. As they say, “the entire family gets cancer” when one member does. We have a tendency to “go for it” now with choices in life, such as vacations, purchases, etc. (For instance, we just returned from a 2 week trip to Italy to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.) It was a trip which would have felt too extravagant pre cancer, but feels just right now!

There are a couple of quotes that seem to fit the way I feel now, and they are, the first by Lance Armstrong, our poster boy for recovery, “Now that I know that I am going to live, what is the highest and best use of myself?” And the other, a friend with a life threatening illness shared with me: “The disease is my friend; it has come to teach me a lesson.” Thanks to cancer, I am a better person today with much more depth than I ever would have had without it!  And, I am really having some FUN too!

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