“Cancer taught me about living each day. Slow down, take a breath, enjoy it all. My children would tell you that I have mellowed. I’m a calmer, not-so-high-strung person.”
A real big change for me was when I left my husband. I had three young children. Walked away from my house, my worldly possessions, and left with a couple Giant Eagle bags. I worked three jobs. I did that for the longest time until I could afford to move into an apartment. Didn’t have a stick of furniture. Did not get child support. My children and I lived a year without television. Little by little, I put this apartment together. When I left, I took my jewelry, but I sold all of that just to make ends meet.
Eventually I found one job that would pay enough that I could give up the three jobs. It was in my neighborhood for a small contractor. He hired me. Actually, down the road it ended up I married him. I needed this job so bad, and said, “Please hire me. You won’t be sorry. I’m a great worker.” And I was. I was a great secretary.
Then I got cancer. That was 14 years ago, and here I am. It is just absolutely amazing. I’ve always been a very high-strung person, on the go all the time. But when I got cancer, my youngest daughter was just starting college. I didn’t even have 50-50 shot because it had already gone to the lymph nodes. I was so worried that I wasn’t going to be there to see her graduate.
Cancer taught me so much about just living each day and slow down, take a breath, enjoy it all. I’m 14 years now. I didn’t think I’d see her through college, let alone married. Her dream was always to be a teacher from the time she was little, and that’s what she grew up to be. I saw her married. I saw her have identical twin boys. They’re now seven years old. They’re the highlight of my life. It is just absolutely remarkable.