As a mother of three sons, wife and full-time attorney, I was stunned to hear the dreaded words, "You have breast cancer" at age 43. That was over 15 years ago. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation, fairly standard for those days. Seven years later I received another wake-up call that the cancer had returned in the same breast. This time I did what any women would do in my work pumps--underwent a double mastectomy to prevent cancer from switching to the unaffected breast. A Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society and speaker at the 2010 local Relay for Life, I've been in remission for eight years.
In 1997 I developed lymphedema, a swelling of the arm from which lymph nodes were removed to check for cancer spread. Now I am a patient-advocate for the National Lymphedema Network so I can help patients cope with this potentially disabling condition.
In 2008 I chronicled my cancer journey in a book, Mourning Has Broken: Reflections on Surviving Cancer. The story was one of grief and triumph, hope and resilience. Last year my second book, The Pebble Path: Returning Home from a Forest of Shadows, was published. This paperback takes the approach of an inspirational allegory interlaced with poetry about my cancer experience.