"Cancer has been the most positive experience I have ever lived through. I now live life to its fullest, living one day at a time. I more focused on being well and staying well."
I lived in Essex Junction since 1991 and am retired from the HVAC business. For 30 years I was married and are blessed with two grown sons, two grandsons and a granddaughter. As a widow, I remarried in 2011.
Besides being active with Kindred Connections, I am also a Hospice volunteer, a volunteers at my church (CARES Program), an American Lung Association board member, Lung Force Walk board member. I belong to a women’s club in Florida as well as my church’s ladies’ guild. I am also a yearly volunteer at a bereavement camp here in Vermont. In 1995, I started a Red Hat Society Chapter (was an ex-State Queen) and remain a member of this Chapter.
I stay active in other important ways too. I belong to a gym, I am a walker, bicyclist, downhill skier,snowshoer and golfer.
In 2012, I was diagnosed with Non Small Cell Lung Cancer. I opted for chemotherapy and radiation, which shrunk the large tumor but the cancer was back within six months. More chemo was given, but again, it was back again. I then elected to stop the chemotherapy. Fortune was with me at that time. A protocol for a trial in Boston at Dana-Farber became available and I jumped on it. Every other week for two years, I traveled down and back to Boston. In September 2015, my drug was approved by the FDA and in October of 2015, I was taken off from all meds. So far, so good!
My lifestyle has completely changed for the better since first being diagnosed. I tell everyone that "cancer has been the most positive experience I have ever lived through. I now live life to its fullest, living one day at a time. I more focused on being well and staying well. "
Helping others with cancer started in the Hem/Onc department of the hospital. I had lost most of my hair and really didn’t feel all that well. But, I found that if I dressed up every day like I was going someplace special, instead of receiving chemo and radiation, I felt better. Dresses, heels, big hats, makeup. Not only did it make me feel good about myself, it transferred to others. It gave them incentive to see me with a smile even though I was going through exactly what they were. I felt good to make them feel good.
I had always wanted to be involved in Hospice so that was next. Kindred Connections then came into being. Now, people who know I had cancer call meand ask me to speak to their friends who have cancer. All I can do is be supportive, encouraging and compassionate. This is what helps a cancer patient get through each day. It gives them hope and hope can be healing.