Ending the year with a bang; beginning the year with a spark

Wishing you a year of hope and peace

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

We spent an amazing week in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, CA, being tourists and enjoying family and friends. Every day was a blessing and an adventure. There were all kinds of experiences I consider being blessings from God — from suddenly being moved from the back to  front-and-center seats at a Brian Setzer holiday concert to witnessing dozens of sea lions leaping and diving in the ocean for fish. We ate Dim Sum for the very first time; soaked in a hot tub at a lighthouse as the sun set over the ocean; saw my brother perform in a bluegrass band one night at a local eatery/bar and a Grateful Dead cover band in the mountains; and did all the touristy activities in SF”s Fishermen’s Wharf area and beyond.  I was exhausted, yet exhilarated, feeling as if I was squeezing every bit of life out of each moment.

The best part of our trip was about connection. In SF, we spent Christmas Day with my dear friend Ann, who moved there about 15 years ago. The second leg of our trip were spent with my brother Doug and his family, whom we don’t get to see very often because we live across the country. What a joy it was to see my nieces grow up into amazing young ladies and connect with Doug and his dear wife Kim! My niece Kaitlin treated us to a slide show of the summer she spent in Africa with the Masai tribe. Grace told us about her adventures in the Grand Tetons learning about earth science. Kim and Doug  were the ultimate hosts, tour guides and loving supporters.

I sit here now back home, watching the snow fall and feeling extremely blessed. Next month, it will be six years since I learned I had metastatic breast cancer. Not only am I here; but I’m healthy enough to enjoy life to the fullest. I realize so many of my cancer friends do not have this privilege and I remember those who have passed who will never again have this privilege.

I do not take any of this lightly. At this time last year, I learned my treatment was not working. I was scrambling to find a clinical trial and traveling back and forth getting other opinions. Through the uncertainty, I listened to my gut and decided to try a new drug, Afinitor, along with Aromasin. My scan last month showed that it is still working – everything is stable. This is a record for me — more than a year on the same treatment. Looking back on 2013, I’d have to say that this is my biggest highlight. Without my continued health, none of the other things would be possible.

My greatest hope for 2014 is that new treatments will emerge that will allow me and all my friends in the cancer community to live, longer healthier lives until we find a cure. Until then, I will do my part to maintain a healthy lifestyle and help ignite a spark of hope for others who need it with my upcoming book, Miracle Survivors, due out in Fall 2014. I am excited about 2014 and the possibilities it holds. Love to you and yours and here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!


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