Bad For Good

My treatments were completed by April of 2005, and at that point, I was thinking, “I can’t believe I made it through such a gruesome period.  My body has been through hell and back, and I’m still here.”  Is it true that I have beaten an advanced cancer?  Has all the suffering from the chemo and radiation help me survive?

Fortunately, not every one has so many side effects from cancer treatments, but having been treated for a gastric-related cancer, exaggeration of symptoms was expected.

There had to be a reason for having to endure all this suffering, and then to be given my life back.  I always believed there was a purpose to every thing we experience – the people we meet, the situations we live through, the choices we make… And I think I found mine.

It may sound strange to hear this, but I’ve always wondered what I could do to “save the world.”  It seems impossible;  but, if every person did one nice thing regularly, the world would be a much better place.  It’s a big world, and we can and must all contribute to its betterment, as well as maintain healthy relationships, not only within our own group but with those we would never expect to.  It really is that simple.  Just be respectful and accepting of our differences, and don’t impose on others.  Reciprocate kindness and equally share the space on Earth.

It’s what we all want, but we’re too self-absorbed and living madly, to even make time to do any thing about it.  If we only complain how bad the world is, then we are contributing to the negativity.  Why not try doing some thing small each day instead?  Give some one a complement, be positive, do a good deed, smile at a stranger, celebrate the people in your life… any thing we don’t do, only makes things worse.

I’m not being self-righteous – God knows I’m not perfect.  My small voice isn’t really saving the world either.  But I feel great about helping people – especially when I can comprehend what they’re experiencing.  The reaction from the patients I mentor is amazing.  They know I understand, they know I’ve been there.  Sharing stories alleviates some of the fear and the loneliness.

I say this with some reservation since, although I have experienced stomach cancer myself, each of us is different in how we handle critical situations.  The circumstances with the diagnosis, treatments, recovery, and life span will likely be different.  It is also impossible for any of us to measure some one else’s pain or fear.  So even though I understand the cancer, the treatments, the fears, life after cancer – if you’re fortunate enough to have been granted one… there is uniqueness to be considered.

Event Planning

I was diagnosed in August of 2004, when the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was reopened to the public (but not to visitors until Independence Day, 2009), after having been closed since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when 2,977 people, excluding the airplane hijackers, lost their lives.  Although I have no close ties to the tragic event, I feel much compassion for those who suffered, like most people do.  The commonality that I share with some of the surviving women, is that I also had a child the following year.  The major difference is that Isabella was lucky enough not to have suffered the loss of her father.  Those miracle children born without their father are still adolescents around 2016.  They have certainly learned of their father’s heroism.  Heroes are not only those that assisted during such turmoil, but all those who have died trying to escape.  The surviving children fill the hearts of the families who lost so much.

Although the theory that more babies would be born months after the horrid event never materialized, unplanned Isabella arrived during Fall, 2002.  In some small way, I feel she was my miracle, so I may have strength during my own life-threatening event in 2004.

Shortly after my surgery, the Montreal Expos played their final game in Montreal.  After thirty-six seasons, they placed fifth.  The team moved to Washington, D.C., and was named the Washington Nationals.

Earlier that year Facebook was also invented.  The new social media brought, initially, students and faculties closer together, and within two years, the rest of the world.

I was oblivious to the Summer Olympics held in Athens, Greece, during those two weeks when I was receiving diagnoses.  Even though I wasn’t a regular follower of such events in the past, synchronized swimming and gymnastics would grab my attention in previous years.


The cold weather is here!  The snow is pretty when it’s freshly fallen, but icy roads and sidewalks can be treacherous.  Be safe! 


Have I Failed Her?

What has also strengthened throughout this time is caring for my only child.  In some ways, I feel I’ve failed at mothering Isabella.  She deserves so much, but I’ve lost so much time with her during my treatments.  Has she been scarred by the lack of attention from me?  It haunts me wondering whether I could have done any thing differently.


Once I was better, I did make efforts to be closer to her.  I began reading  to her again every night, took her with me wherever I went – and she made it easy because she was so well behaved – and took pictures with her during every event, outing, or opportunity.  When I scan through my photo albums, the gap during my treatments is so evident.  I hadn’t recorded any memories to remind me of her at that age.  It still saddens me.

I am so proud of how Isabella handled the traumatic event in her life, and pray she never has to experience it again – especially not firsthand.  Today, she tells me about moments when she thinks of my being ill and becoming emotional.

Hopefully the memory will only serve her as such, and she absorbs the good from it, like I have.  She must also know how much strength she brought me during the crisis.  Seeing her every day made it all worthwhile.  I pray that my gift from God will be rewarded with health, fulfillment, happiness, and success.


I would like to thank you all for continuing to read.  The memoir is in edit mode, and I hope to find the right editor soon to help polish it and prepare it for publication.  In the meantime, I hope you have found some inspiration in my words.  I am insignificant in the bigger picture, but each of our experiences helps to build a better world.  Please join me in the fight against illnesses, injustices, and the pursuit of peace.  Bless you all!  


Friends, Candles, & Dora

What a wonderful gift to be able to celebrate my daughter’s third birthday.  With my hair having grown less than two inches, and hating how skinny I was, it was difficult to find an outfit that didn’t make me feel awkward and appear sickly.  But that day was about my daughter, so I sucked it up, and managed thicker textured fabrics for that November day.

Despite my insecurities, I put together a bash accommodating about fifty guests.  I invited all the families we frequented, most of them having young children – which was really who the party was for.

I had a clown magician come over to entertain the children for awhile.  The dove trick made a great impression.  Dora, The Explorer, was popular at the time, and one of my daughter’s favourite shows, so that was the theme.  The presents she received, especially the Dora kitchen, made her smile.  She became extremely timid when we all sang to her, and she had to blow out the candles.  I have pictures to remind me of that great day.  She doesn’t remember having such an elaborate party.