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My darkest moment wasn’t the cancer itself so much as having to share my diagnosis with my closest family members. In some ways, I was embarrassed to say the word leukemia. I worried that people would feel sorry for me or worry that they would lose me to the disease.

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Stitching Love

Q & A, Survivor February 15, 2017

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.

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My pre-cancer self was innocent and unsuspecting of any health issues; arrogant in her healthiness and immortality. I’d tell her to listen to her body. Don’t ignore the signs that she’s ill. I’d also tell her that she’s strong. Much stronger than she gives herself credit. And that, despite the unbearable hardships she’d face in the coming year, she’d find a wear to bear it. She would come to own the word ‘survivor’ by showing up to the cancer center every day, making soul connections as she fought her way back to life.

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I Have the Will

Q & A, Survivor January 18, 2017

The darkest moment in my cancer journey was initially finding out in 2007. I was mortified. I could not wrap my mind around the diagnosis. I was only 36 years old and healthy as a horse. It was like it came out of the blue. Also, after the first round of chemotherapy, I had Neutropenia, low white blood cell count. The shots to remedy the condition made me so sick, I could not lift my head off the pillow.

It was some scary times. It was scary being bald. The wigs helped me so much but I really enjoy my own hair. I was happy to have my hair back.

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Without a doubt, a cancer diagnosis is a very dark moment all by itself. But there are a million other things affected by it. At my diagnosis, I was a newlywed and my eldest son (a career Air Force intelligence agent) was about to deploy to Afghanistan. I gave my new husband permission to leave, not knowing what the future held for me. And I was terrified he’d take me up on it. Equally frightening was my son’s safety, which actually overshadowed my own fear of death.

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