3 questions better than ‘why me’

I get it. Living is deadly. The risks are huge and, in time, death is certain. So, my first question on learning I had advanced, aggressive, rare breast cancer was too obvious: “Am I going to die?”

My partner, Decker, said: “Yes.”

When we were done laughing, my next question was: “Soon?”

He said: “I hope not.”

The last question I asked my wonderful oncologist: “How will I know I’ve survived cancer?”  “When you die of something else,” he said as he cheerfully discharged me from care.

Yippee. I’ve survived cancer if I die in a car accident, have a fatal heart attack, or win the Darwin Award.

If I want different answers, I have to ask different questions. Here are my replacement questions:

1. What do I fear? I survive ’til I die and not longer. All the expensive powders, pills and lifestyle secrets won’t deliver immortality. Survival is day-by-day, much like life is. Once I accept this, I can, at the same time, want to avoid and yet not fear dying.

2. Why do I want to know? It’s tempting to ask “why me” but that isn’t the right question for at least four reasons. First, there often isn’t an answer. Second, knowing “the” reason buys into blame as if I should regret my past that ’caused’ the cancer. Third, ‘why me’ makes me anxious about my actions now, when really, I’m doing the best I can. Fourth, ‘why me’ is a despairing cry for my future, as if I have no reason for optimism.

3. How can I express my authentic feelings even if they aren’t happy? Yes, cancer patients do better with positive thinking and good attitude. ‘Positive’ and ‘good’ are twin tyrannies, judging when I think negative with a bad attitude. I  could suppress my authentic feelings or just accept that’s how I feel right now and it’ll change. Conflict teaches that feelings, like relationships, can change, be enriched, repair, heal.

Cancer reduced my ‘bucket’ list to three entries: do volunteer work, write publishable novel(s), and enrich my relationships. Volunteering and writing are my solitary tasks. Relationships – now that’s something I work on with others. After all, everyone still alive is a survivor like me.

I try to ignore or manage the daily risks, live a meaningful life despite those risks, and to delay the certain end. That’s my current answer to the questions for life itself.

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Get over it or get past it (or both)?

No! I didn’t get over it already. What’s more realistic is I’ve gotten past it. Trauma is like flowers that bloom, go dormant, and bloom again. Get over it implies the impact ended. Get past it implies overcoming the impact. Overcome and end have different finish lines. I’ll get over the cancer experience once there’s a cure.

Here’s evidence I’m past it:

  • Less intense panic attacks
  • Fewer decisions I’m too paralyzed to make
  • No need to explain that quadruple mastectomies dictate my wardrobe choices.
  • Haircuts are haircuts, not flashbacks about being bald.

What’s the ‘it’ I’m past?

The radiologist, who I’d never met, entered the room, stared at the screen, and declared with certainty the abnormalities on my breast ultrasound were benign. The ultrasound technician looked shocked but didn’t contradict him. The radiologist missed the cancer. When my doctor did follow up, one year late, I was four months from dead of advanced breast cancer. Treatment left me exhausted, underweight, brain-fried, and angry the cancer wasn’t diagnosed before it required heavy artillery.

They made mistakes where they’re supposed to be experts. But, most decisions rely on imperfect information; even experts can’t know every variable. My diagnosis was in time, if not timely.

I’m grateful. I’m past it.

Is peace a reward for patience?

German Israel lapel pin

Photo from thegalileeexperience.com/

Is peace imaginable even though it isn’t yet within reach? Is there a vision of what the other side of our current age of turbulence might look like?

The entwined German and Israeli flag lapel pin surprised me. Bigger shock; the lapel pin was on a German army officer’s uniform. I accosted the officer in our hotel lobby. Smiling, the officer explained.

“Israeli and German troops are colleagues. Training in Israel was the highlight of my career.”

Imagine. 70+ years ago Germany exterminated Jews and now they train together. Later, I hiked on the red soil of East Africa’s beautiful, peaceful Rift Valley. Imagine. 40+ years ago Idi Amin Dada took power and slaughtered Ugandans. 20+ years ago Rwanda was riven with genocide. Tourists on safari now watch big game roam where people once ravaged the land and each other. My mind whirled at the passing time and effort that healed three massacres with three reconciliations.

Peace isn’t evenly distributed and there’s never a guarantee of permanent peace. Peace is too big a miracle to expect in a world of escalating violence. Transforming societies post-genocide is not an overnight miracle. It’s many people working hard and forgiving the unforgettable.

Here’s my belief – no, more accurate to call it a prayer – as expiring 2014 bequeaths expanding war zones to incoming 2015:

History is dynamic; the future undetermined. People get exhausted with war, money for munitions dries up, governments change, dictatorships collapse, policy catches up with new realities, evil runs its course, and peace gets a chance. Unknowables include how long it may take and whether it’s minimal peace, or social justice with a real future.

At a personal level, would the cancer treatment that saved my life have been available if I lived in a war torn country? Probably not when resources are disproportionately budgeted to military over healthy people and environments, and education. Headlines in the global news include child soldiers, abducted girls, death from curable diseases, poverty, food insecurity, and many barriers to health and education. World-wide hatred, fear, distrust, and anti-Semitism abound.

And, in these amazing months of travel, I’ve seen resilient peoples rebound and offer a vision of what peace brings. Peace in East Africa has meant healthier children, opportunities for universal education, and awareness of environmental needs.

Since no war lasts forever, what sustainable vision of peace can we work for, each in our own way?

red soil

Queen Elizabeth National Park’s red earth, Uganda

Healthy Child Uganda

Healthy Child Uganda is an NGO helping mothers help families thrive.

Girls go to school, women in cities attend university and achieve high positions at work.

HCU clinic

Dr. Ida reviews the Impressive child immunization rates with Decker at a Healthy Child Uganda District Clinic.

Dr. Ida shows Decker the data

Resilience helps after a quadruple mastectomy (yup – 4 of ’em)

Oops, I did it again. As in two original breasts, four total mastectomies. Think of that when ordering a double double coffee at Tim’s. After the shock of the first two mastectomies, undergoing another two was – well – a shock. I mean, who has four mastectomies?

Paul comic

“Decker,” I negotiated with my partner, “since you have two nipples to my none, how about a nipple donation? Then you’ll have either a left or right, your choice, and I can have one transplanted to the middle.” He declined.

At least this double mastectomy, on 18 September, was preventative, not because cancer returned. Whew.

remaining breast tissue crop

The July chest ultrasound revealed the bulges were remaining breast tissue and not pooled lymph fluid as we’d believed. Quick consensus followed. Yes, mastectomies may not improve survival. Still, it seemed unwise to leave a potential home for an aggressive cancer while my risk of recurrence is so high. I figured the worst that could happen if I repeated the double mastectomy was that my wardrobe would need adjusting. The worst that could happen if I didn’t have it repeated was too awful to accept as reasonable risk.

Dr. Kanashiro masterfully retraced the incisions she’d made the first time, flattening me further. ‘No’ is still my final answer to reconstruction.

The third and fourth mastectomies were just as miserable an experience as the first and second. Compared to the chemo blowing out my brain, when I fell deep into a non-functional state of profound sadness, repeat mastectomies were only inconvenient. 

Seriously? Have body parts amputated sequentially, endure life alterations in what I’ve dubbed Post Change Syndrome (PCS), and just bounce back? Well, yes. Although ‘bounce’ might be defined as dragging myself up a ragged mountain wall, but that’s where resilience comes in.

In 21 August’s post, I mused about the four qualities that supported my recovery after chemo beat me up:

Resilience, Mindset, Optimism and Discipline.

Once again I relied on these four qualities to recover from drastic change.

The Resilience Project defines resilience well: “In the context of exposure to significant adversity, resilience is both the capacity of individuals to navigate their way to the psychological, social, cultural, and physical resources that sustain their well-being, and their capacity individually and collectively to negotiate for these resources to be provided in culturally meaningful ways.”

I use conflict competence skills to navigate through adversity and negotiate for resources to make my body inhospitable to cancer. But which came first in my case – resilience or conflict competence? I had to trawl my memory for this because, as a professor once said: “scratch a theory, you’ll find a biography.”

Scratch my theory that conflict management is a great skill and you’ll find my biography included battling parents, a home with hostility expressed in screaming insults, leaving me insecure and prone to outbursts. I sought conflict management training to deal with my biography and wound up with a rewarding career and the skills to get through PCS. In my storyline, through negotiation training I gained conflict competence and became resilient.

Grandparents Etta and Meyer Switzer

Grandparents Etta and Meyer Switzer

But I my path to resilience was easier because of one stable person in my childhood – my grandfather.

My new theory: the influence of one stable person plus conflict competence help in adversity. I’m grateful for so many things, including my family and Resilience.

 

The Secret for Recovery from Post Change Syndrome

sadWhether change is from a death, disease, divorce, depression, disappointment, or other disaster, hey, the trauma ended, move on; get over it. Were it so simple. So, I’ll share a secret here first. I’ve figured out what ‘cured’ my PCS (Post Change Syndrome).

Two years ago, Dr. Simpson, exasperated, asked what kept me in sadness when the cancer was in remission. Tears were my silent answer. My risk remains high, so imagine my wonderment that (for the most part) I did get over PCS. But someone recently reminded me of my low time in PCS. Now, with my brain finally engaged again, I’m on a quest to belatedly answer Dr. Simpson’s question.

Origin of the Quest

Trail on the trail 8:2013Trail the Westie’s sensitive terrier nose worked the ground zig-zag, seeking the source of some fantastic smell no human nose appreciated. His determined quest was to sniff the butt of the dog ahead. My intent, compatible with his, was to stay close and keep him safe.

2011-08-05 09.05.22We overtook a shy blind dog that dove behind her human’s legs. Larry, the human, and I untangled leashes and exchanged names. While the dogs lapped sun-warmed glacial water, we admired the magnificence. Larry is also an aspiring writer so next we traded domain names. And then Larry’s reaction to my blog on living  breastlessly: ‘wow, you have a great outlook’.

This response still surprises me. During and since diagnosis I met many with outstanding outlooks. I expected my blog on joyful breastlessness would prove mundane. A chance encounter plus a brain freshly freed of chemo fog launched my quest.

The Questions for the Quest

Being passionately curious, I unleashed my inner terrier:

  1. what is a great outlook?
  2. what are the qualities that facilitate a great outlook despite adversity?
  3. are those qualities common? and
  4. can those qualities be taught, learned, or are they innate (you got ‘em or you don’t)?

I asked my research assistant, Dr. Google, for data on great outlook after adversity. Hmm, 31,100,000 choices. Nap time.

 Methodology of the Quest

in perfect repose 8:2013From the hammock under the apple tree I undertook conflict analyses, rigorous research, and thinking about PCS. No apple fell so I studied Trail’s perfect repose for inspiration.

Findings from the Quest

1. what is a great outlook?

A great outlook is whatever gets someone through PCS feeling sane and healthy on the other side. If it isn’t sane and healthy, it likely isn’t a great outlook. The twin tyrannies of positive thinking and good attitude are privileged as the ‘right’ way to weather PCS’s aftermath, but there’s different adaptive capacities. Cancer Curmudgeon, for example, has a feisty attitude that brooks no guff. It works for her and I always read her posts.

 2. what are the qualities that facilitate a great outlook despite adversity?

In my hammock-based analysis, there are four qualities that made it easier to walk through the PCS goop that clung to my shoes. In order that I employed them, they are:

        1. Resilience: treatments for Triple Negative Breast Cancer were horrible and toxic and I felt gratitude.
        2. Mindset: I don’t quit.
        3. Optimism: it will get better.
        4. Discipline: if that’s my goal, whatever it takes, I’ll do.

3. are those qualities common?’

There are loads of blogs about how breast cancer made someone better, wiser, or nearer God or to life’s meaning. But the qualities that enable the process for doing any of those (should you want to) are not commonly joined together in the blogosphere. These qualities haven’t, previous to this, been identified as the cure to the PCS I invented.laugh

4. can those qualities be taught, learned, or are they innate (you got ‘em or you don’t)?

I’m pleased to report the four qualities of a kick-ass great outlook are indeed quantifiable, measurable and attainable. Resilience and Mindset are teachable traits, Optimism is learnable although it’s also associated with genetics, and Discipline is just a bitch that has to be wrestled to the ground like a runaway.

Conclusions from the Quest

We’ve fragile creatures, body and soul; anyone’s a diagnosis away from disaster. A sudden verdict or invitation can spin us like a tilt-a-whirl midway ride. Recovery from dramatic life altering change is a process. If PCS isn’t a real condition, it sure felt like it when I was inside its grip.

Each person’s cause of PCS is path dependent. Mine can be summed up as: “how do I avoid premature death?” My experience was of PCS as a giant mental vacuum. For me, PCS was the suboptimal edge of panic over what foods to eat, how to rest enough, when to exercise, who’d diagnose new symptoms, where to meditate, why no follow up treatment for Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Dr. Simpson asked a simple question: what was keeping me stuck in PCS? I didn’t know the answer. The answer I now give Dr. Simpson is to a different question: what got me unstuck from PCS?

Resilience     Mindset     Optimism     Discipline

The next four posts will muse about each quality.

My medical choice is different than Angelina Jolie’s

For anyone who missed Angelina Jolie’s May 14, 2013, NY Times Op-Ed My Medical Choice, she announced her prophylactic (preventative) mastectomies. Now that people have stopped talking about it, I have an answer to the questions I’d dodged about her letter. Oh, to be as quick with a quip as say, Oscar Wilde. Nope, I needed weeks for a comeback line. And here it is: all breast cancers, like all breasts and all risks, are not the same. So the choices are different.

Pretty lame huh? Yeah, pathetic that in two months I couldn’t come up with anything wittier. Except, it’s my truth. Here’s a few ways her experience and mine are different, and then an answer to the big so what?

Angelina had a risk of breast cancer. This was not like facing Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Angelina has small scars, nothing that would make her children “uncomfortable”. That’s different than scars from armpit to sternum on both sides of my chest. Angelina feels she had “a strong choice that in no way diminishes [her] femininity.” I took less than two seconds to choose not being dead over being feminine. Angelina had reconstructive surgery for new breasts that are “beautiful.” I choose to live with a chest as flat as the prairie whose photograph I picked for this blog. Angelina traded her perfect breasts in for other perfect breasts. I donated my perfect breasts to the tumor bank for research without regret or request for visiting privileges.

That’s the ‘what’. And the ‘so what’ is: We have in common we’re both women who weren’t born with breasts, won’t die with our own breasts and didn’t want to die because of our breasts.

Angelina wrote: “Everything else is just Mommy, the same as I always was.”

photo credit: hollywoodlife.com FameFlynet

photo credit: hollywoodlife.com FameFlynet

What else could we be but ourselves, whatever gets amputated, mutilated, rearranged or droopy? But, really, she’s the same as always? We come through trials transformed, like characters in a good novel (or even in the novel I’ve written).

But I understand, I think, what Angelina might have meant. To those who love us and who we love, we’re still here, still strong, still attentive to them. We’ll shove aside our fears and doubts and nightmares and the quivering parts of our guts that worry we’re not out of danger yet, to answer “Here I am” when our loved ones cry out their fears and doubts.

Finally, here’s the ‘what next’. I’ll hug Decker, and Beth, and Marcus, and Andria, and friends and family, and even Trail the Westie Terrier to my flat chest and assume it’s just as comforting and comfortable as Angelina’s perfect implants. Because our loved ones will hear our hearts beat for them, breasts or no breasts.

Restitution for chemotherapy’s criminal tendencies

imagesChemotherapy stole my concentration, compassion, and creativity. I came home from chemo treatment to find my brain ransacked. Neurons scattered everywhere. My orderly mental filing cabinet of memories ripped apart and discarded in a jumble of fragments. My organized identity as a conflict manager strewn about my skull. Emotional reserves looted. It felt like being asleep and awake at the same time. The awake part of me saw things. The asleep part didn’t react to what the awake part observed.

inventoryAnd sneaky chemo so impaired me I wasn’t aware my complement of thoughts and feelings had gone. It took two years to inventory the personal and professional resources chemo stole. With hindsight I understand the impacts on myself and others; my quest is restoration.

Cat+Pillow+Ekorn+GraphicsFairyPersonally, I stared for two years at nothing in middle space like a lazy cat on a pillow. Two years of valuable reading and writing time – poof – evaporated. Relationships and conversations were hard work in the absence of thought and reaction. Can I recapture lost opportunities?

Professionally, my tactful tank was empty. When someone complained about a sore back while I was locked in chemo-induced acute pain syndrome, I said: “Would you like to trade problems?” Snap. Next, I disrespected a support group of bald women. “They cut out body parts to save your life and you moan about your hair?” Harsh. Empathy and sensitivity, which are basic to conflict managers, went missing. Is it too late to respond with kindness?

I needed a new inventory. Recapturing lost opportunities and words wasn’t possible, but restarting was. Gains have been incremental, requiring patience.

A win – I read again although v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y. The delightful days I once spent with books are now a delightful hour. That’s an hour more focus than I had a year ago. I prowled our bookcases for skinny books, judging only by their covers, and stumbled upon three classics long buried in our bookcase. I give each discovery 5 out of 5. They are:

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Ali and Nino – pray the movie in production does justice to this gem.

The Paper Men -profound and funny.

A Single Pebble – a world in a river trip.

A win – I returned to my dream job as Ombudsman’s Adviser and Conflict Manager for West and North Canada at Parks Canada, which I love. I have the privilege of working with Rebecca in Ottawa, Pierre (Spike) in Halifax, and be well managed by Parks’ Ombuds, Luc.

logo beaver

Yet, I’ve resigned and leave in two weeks. To quit was an agonizing decision. Chemo also sucker-punched my stamina and as long as I work full time, that’s all I get done in a day. Another win – work part time as a Conflict Management Consultant and finish revising my novel.

I like to believe I lived a mindful life before the diagnosis. I like to think my adaptive and resiliency skills made dealing with the treatment/side effects easier. I like to show that being so fit and living a healthy lifestyle before, during and after the treatment has some bearing on whether or not my life is long.

I like to think and believe and show all that, but ultimately, Triple Negative Breast Cancer is a randomized crapshoot. So, what gives meaning to life is what I have left. Pining over the losses of what used to be, wishing for what can’t be anymore, isn’t part of my conflict competence. If I can write a bit again, then writing is going to be my new job.

That’s a permanent win for me. If my novel is ever good enough, maybe it will be a win in other ways.

Two and counting

image001 Two years since this wild cancer ride started. With Triple Negative, I’ve another six years before the highest risk is reduced. How hard can it be to stay alive six more years?

Meanwhile, year 2 carried thrilling changes.

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My mind made a token reappearance from chemo fog. It’s nice to think again, even superficially, although my mind and the sun operate as a coupled network. Sun down, mind off, bedtime.

I’m able to write a bit of fiction and reading is a joy once more, albeit very slowly. Just for fun I wrote a poem, non-fiction in verse. It isn’t quite like getting the university degree in creative writing I anticipated for 2013, but so much better than being dead.

MR900215311The inspiration for this poem was the “beauty industry” focus on symbols of femininity – hands, breasts and hair. Those were the bits that cancer and treatment most affected, temporarily or permanently. I’ve replace those with symbols from ancient Heraldry that speak to me of courage, vigilance, love, and joy – all better’n being dead.

So, here’s the conflict management connection: when I couldn’t be or have society’s ‘ideal’ whatever, in this case ‘beauty’ I adapted my own ideal that’s makeup-less, breastless, and less chemical. I’m adaptable. I’m alive.

image001

Hands, Breasts and Hair
I solved the markets’ problems with Visa
And it co-created mine with debt;
Advertisers offered for sale
Woman parts at cost plus
R & D, technology, and enhancements
Packaged in smooth hands tipped red
Long hair tipped blonde
Perfect breasts tipped upright.
No two breasts are identical
So one breast flying solo
On either side
Or no breast left or right
Mismatched as any two are.
Better none than dead because of them.
I bought a non-shedding dog
While my own hair
Floated to seed the earth
And clog the drain
My head had pit stops
At bald, crew and curl
Oh I craved that curl
Almost as much as to be alive
To grow it straight and gray.

Good news, honey, I have breast cancer – we can get a dog

Decker and I work long hours. We added ‘get a dog’ to our retirement goals. 2 August 2010, the doctor said, “Bad news, you have a really bad breast cancer and you’re in for a very tough year.”

I said, ‘Puppy time!”

Decker had to be convinced I could handle it. Cripes, women handle cancer with young families, aging parents and no money or partners. What kind of princess status was I aiming for?

Decker & Trail 28 Aug 2010

Trail’s first day on the job of pet

A 10-week old White Westhighland Terrier, joined our family 20 August. I wanted a mutt; Decker would only have a Westie. The trade-off was I got to pick his name.

As we drove to collect him from his birth family, I announced his name was to be Saith, Welsh for 7. Since I was proud of the originality, I didn’t expect Decker’s mirth. Decker said, “Say ‘Saith sit’ really fast”. 10 minutes later we got to the breeder’s and his name was Trail. We wanted a happy dog (as in Dale Evans’ song Happy Trails to You sung with Roy Rogers). We wanted a hiking companion. I was born in the town of Trail (so it would’ve been silly to call him, say, Paris or London). We had a week to get used to each other before the first mastectomy disrupted our lives.

Surgery prep started 28 August, at 6:00 AM. As I was wheeled to the operating room at 7:30 AM, Decker dashed through rush hour traffic to feed and walk Trail, and be back for 9:30 AM when I was wheeled out, one breast and a dozen lymph nodes lighter.

furry faces sleeping 2010

The job of pet is hard work

Whoever thought laughter’s the best medicine didn’t have tubes sewn into their armpits ending in bulbous drains full of sloshing lymph fluid while trying to train an opinionated, stubborn, independent Westie pup. It hurt to laugh. It hurt to breathe. It hurt when Trail jumped on my chest. When the clumsy puppy pulled on a tube sewn into my axilla (that’s fancy-ass talk for armpit) I thought I’d pass out. Then Trail fell asleep on Decker and it hurt not to laugh. A day later it didn’t hurt at all and he’s still making us laugh.

Trail, at 11 weeks had 5 pounds of heft in him. Decker and I, two days post-chemo treatment, took him on a mountain hike. The first log lying on the path was easy to step over for legs longer than 3 inches. Trail ran at the log head-first and full tilt. He somersaulted backwards with four paws flailing air, tongue hanging from his mouth, and stars circling overhead like Wiley Coyote after hitting the tunnel Roadrunner painted on the cliff. Trail learned and the second log he tried to jump over. He high centered, two 3-inch legs on each side of the log still motoring above the ground. The third log he walked around. We were so proud. He summited the mountain, puked, fell asleep, and I carried him down.

it-wasnt-meTrail mastered climbing up stairs but not down. We barricaded him in the kitchen and went to our appointments. The munchkin wiggled out and went looking for us – upstairs, where he pulled over the phone, peed, and chewed a shoe. When I got home from the hospital, he was stranded on the landing looking pitiful. He denied doing the damage.

Decker said it’s a close contest which of us is cuter, Trail or me. I said, “I have only one boob, which gives Trail a slight advantage, but he’ll soon have no balls and then we’ll be evenly matched until the second mastectomy when it’s advantage Trail again.”

30 Aug 2010

Home the day of my first mastectomy

Pets bring out the best in most people and bring people together. Pet owners can spend as much time discussing their fur-bearing critters as parents do  their kids. Friends admired Trail and related the story of the pet they’d loved and broken-heartedly had to ‘put down’ when it got cancer. I rested my hand on Decker’s shoulder, looked into his eyes and said, “Don’t get any ideas.”

Conflict managers do a lot of reframing. I’m aiming for the title of Reframe Queen with this one: If not for a deadly cancer, we wouldn’t have Trail.

A Bride in palliative care is a model of hope

In March 2012, Kerry participated in a 5 day Tapestry Retreat I attended in the foothills of the Rockies. She was engaged to marry her long time partner Darren in May. After 5 days watching her suffer and laugh, depending on how well meds were managing the pain, her laughter made a bigger impression on me than her suffering did.

After she took pain pills Kerry spoke of her hope. As the pills wore off, she told us she was losing hope. Call me a romantic, I saw the hopefulness. When Kerry shared her wedding plans she lit up. Her gray complexion left and she became a blushing bride-to-be. Their teen-age daughter was so excited about the wedding. Kerry thought about advancing the date to make sure she’d be able to dance, and then didn’t change it. At the scheduled time and place, Kerry and Darren married so that when her time comes she’ll die a wife.

As I write this, Kerry is in palliative care for detox from the pain pills and those who love her await her discharge to have her home again. She’s young, in her 30s, and strong, and we pray she’ll have more time and less pain. Her breast cancer returned as the same kind of Triple Negative cancer I had, so my prayers for Kerry and a breakthrough drug to help her have more than a hint of self-interest.

Before the retreat, I’d never met Kerry. After 5 days, I care about her a lot, and Darren, and her daughter. I cheered when she sent the link to their wedding album. She’s a beautiful bride. It was her dream wedding.

We all have dreams of some kind and a certain amount of time to achieve them. Kerry achieved some of hers and she’s alive to continue to inspire those who know her. May we all have the courage Kerry has to pursue our dreams no matter what happens, and have hope despite the pain.

 

Kerry Lee-Anne ROBERT-McDONALD

It is with heavy hearts the family of Kerry announce her passing on Thursday, December 6, 2012 at the age of 41 years after a long battle with cancer.

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