Survivor since 1998…Crystal clear and hard to comprehend. Suddenly, all that mattered following my first diagnosis with Breast Cancer, at 34, was living. Living for my family and my dream of marriage and children. Yet, walking across a field looking at Boulder’s Flatirons, it was hard to believe that there was a chance I might not be able to see these slanted rocks in a few months or years, that I might not realize this dream that I was so close to.Then there are the gifts of cancer:  The chance to live everyday as if it could be your last. You don’t have to try too hard to do that once you are faced with your own mortality. There is the outpouring of love and support. A life threatening illness unleashes everyone’s inhibitions and they don’t hesitate to hold you in their arms, tell you how much they love you, visit you, prepare meals for you, call you. People you don’t even know, other survivors, are on the phone lending their support.  Word spreads fast.  The treatment and the healing begins.There is also the gift of medicine and doctors who care so much that they are willing to take a chance on saving, as well as losing, their patients. There are second and third chances. There are dreams come true and prayers answered.  I did survive my first diagnosis with cancer and two years later I married my husband Marshall. Carter, who is now six, was a honeymoon baby. John, who is now four, was born 2 years later. Both are miracle babies since they followed intensive chemotherapy.Shortly after John was born I was diagnosed a second time with Breast Cancer. I was 40 years old this time. Twice by 40. Just when I was beginning to hope that I didn’t have to worry too much about it. I survived the second time too. Once again, all the gifts were there especially the love of my husband, children, parents, brothers, sister and friends. Intensity and desperation were there as well. Now, I knew what I had to live for and what I could lose.  There was faith and hope and there still is. Hope and faith in family, in God’s love. Faith in community and hope that there will be a cure for all cancers. Hope that I will live long enough to see my children grow up.I still look at our beautiful mountains and the Flatirons and wonder how long I have to look at them. I still hold my husband and children, watch them play and sleep, and wonder how long I have to hold them and to look at them. I hope it’s a long time but if it’s not I am so grateful to have had the time I have had.


  1. Sandra Menter-Berry says:

    My family will always be grateful for your loving and skilled speech work with our child. But one of your many powerful and enduring gifts that no cancer can ever take away!


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