Since meeting Suzanne this past July at the LAF Summit (she was a fellow Orange Monarch), I have been fortunate enough to receive her updates. I look forward to them when I see one in my inbox. You never know who Suzanne might have met this week or what impact she may have been making on cancer awareness. Her Thanksgiving message touches the surface on her tireless efforts. In addition to all of Suzanne’s advocacy work she keeps such an amazing perspective on life (see September post- Cancer Bill). I feel so fortunate to have crossed paths with you Suzanne. Keep up your amazing work!
Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year and in these past twelve months the counting of blessings has been rich. There has been cyberknife twice, GOLF (Gemcitabine and Oxaliplatin), and intratumoral chemo. I have withstood another pulmonary embolism and fought off a couple of infections. My time was once again considered very short in March and yet again I was given a reprieve with a stint and an external drain. What tomorrow holds, nobody knows but I do know that I’m thankful for all the triumphs and treasures this year has held. I’ve climbed the steps of Capitol Hill, testified before Congress and worked tirelessly and passionately to further the efforts of Colorectal Cancer Coalition (HR 1738), National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (CCCIA), and YES (continued medicare coverage for brachytherapy). Even though Representative Hensarling hasn’t quite climbed on board with HR 1738 he recognized my efforts in the Congressional Record and has been supportive of other cancer related issues. For that, I’m very honored and proud. Senator Cornyn and Senator Hutchison have also been proactive in their stance with cancer and research and I’m particularly pleased with the Kennedy Hutchison Cancer Bill that will soon renew the war on cancer. All of this with a body full of cancer. I’ve challenged and motivated my doctors to continue finding additional steps to extend my journey for as long as possible. They have yet to let me down or throw in the towel. Together with my nurses, I have a phenomenal team – though scattered between cities and hospitals – that is nothing short of amazing. I’ve celebrated milestone birthdays with both of my girls – Katie at 21 and Karlie at 18. I witnessed Karlie’s graduation and the beginning of her college career. I watched proudly as she and the Ghostriders brought home 5 gold medals in competition. I see fire and stamina in her gentle spirit just as I see determination and loyalty in Katie. Katie helps me every day with organizing appointments, calls, and schedules and has just started her third year of college. She and Joey seem quite happy but say there will be no talk of marriage until school is complete. Ronnie and I shared another anniversary and have juggled the emotional and physical aspects of this disease with composure that I could have never anticipated. We close each day finishing each others sentences; hand in hand. My mom retired, my dad had his surgery, and together they are exploring a new chapter of their lives. My friends – you have inspired me, encouraged me, prompted and sometimes propelled me forward. There is no other feeling like friendship and for that I thank you. Within every challenge, there is a blessing and I’ve found in this one disease an overflowing abundance of blessings through each of you. On this Thanksgiving Day I wish you all a day filled with friendship, togetherness, peace and hope.