El Mirage, AZ
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, 2012
1. What was the darkest moment in your cancer journey?
My darkest moment was not being able to walk more than ten steps, and taking 30 minutes to climb the stairs. Three stairs at a time, then a five minute rest. Then wishing to God this was not the way the rest of my life was going to be.
2. If you could go back and talk to your pre-cancer self, what would you say?
“And this too shall pass.” I am a positive person, but when you’re scared and have the same cancer as your mom that just passed away from, it’s difficult. Make sure to remember to TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME. That is so important.
3. How has cancer changed you?
As a dental assistant, I care for my patients and love my job. But after cancer, when I speak to those same patients, there is more love, more empathy. So many people have dealt with cancer and have kept it a secret. I don’t. I have had more hugs from patients because I can make them feel better. Most people think they are alone. I would have been alone too if not for my mom.
4. What motivated you to pursue your 2nd Act?
Someone talked to me when I could barely walk. That made all the difference in the world, to believe that I could be well one day, too. I find I “have to” talk to people. I didn’t know how to quilt, but I learned so I could deliver a piece of security and love while someone is enduring chemotherapy. I do my very best to keep in touch with the new people that have come into my life.
5. What has been your brightest moment in your 2nd Act?
When someone called to tell me about their loved one or close friend diagnosed with cancer. I made and delivered quilts to people I didn’t even know. The smiles, tears, and love that coms from them make me happy. I feel rewarded. My oncologist asked me to talk to a lady who refused chemo. We talked and she changed her mind.
6. Where do you see yourself going from here?
I see myself continuing to sew for Ryan’s Smiles, making pillowcases for kids with cancer. I also want to make dozens of dresses to be sent to little girls in Africa through my church. And I love making quilts for Blankies for Grownups.
7. What’s your favorite quote and how does it fit into your 2nd Act?
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow could be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” – Jack Ma
My other favorite quote is, “Surround yourself with positive people: this will make a high difference in you life”
I never gave up during treatment. I stayed positive. I always said, better me than my sisters. And was so happy when I could drink a glass of red wine. My boss took us out to dinner to celebrate. It’s the little things!