It stays firmly etched in my mind that many people have succumbed to their battle with cancer. I was 25 years old when diagnosed. I saw others even younger who were diagnosed and subsequently did not make it. I can only imagine the grief experienced by these families. I continue to lift people up in prayer who are experiencing difficult circumstances in life.
Participating for over 10 years in a support group for families coping with a life-threatening illness revealed the many struggles that people were facing in their journey. It is not an easy path for the patient or the loved ones standing by offering their care and support. The pain is real. Getting together with a group once a month was a great source of encouragement. Although I was finished with my treatments when this group was formed, attending these gatherings helped me process the experience in a way that I would not have done on my own. I am grateful to all who participated during those 10 years.
It is easy to get discouraged when the world seems to throw many trials and tribulations at us. It is my prayer that we continue to walk in faith and in hope even when the challenges before us are immense. I mark this anniversary with a deep sense of gratitude. Thank you to my family for the love, care and support through my illnesses. Thank you to all of the professional caregivers who have impacted my life through the years. A special note of gratitude to several institutions that provided my care. St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles, Missouri in 1986 provided my care for 52 days over a four month period and kept me alive. In 2001 the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver performed a difficult but successful surgery when I was diagnosed the second time. In 2003 St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri provided an open-heart surgery that was quite successful as well.
Finally, a word of gratitude to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for hosting this event where survivors could celebrate with one another. People just starting out in their journey with cancer benefit emotionally from seeing survivors. It enhances their sense of hope to see that others have survived. You made that possible this weekend. Thank you!