For the most part of my life I never really questioned whether I was happy or not. I got married had two children, and to the everyday passerby I was living the american dream. We had a three bedroom house two vehicles and a golden retriever. The kids were always busy with after school activities. My daughter was in dancing and my son was into karate. Most weekdays you could find me driving a half an hour each way to and from karate and dance or dance and karate depending on which one was first.

Then one hot day in July of 2007 I did a breast self examination while I was in the shower. For the first time ever I felt something the size of a golf ball in my right breast. This discovery would lead me on a journey I would never have imagined. Mammogram after mammogram revealed nothing. Then came the ultrasound that showed little more than a couple of cysts. All the while the father of my children was losing belief that I was actually sick. He stopped going to appointments with me. According to him there was NOTHING wrong with me.

But the health care workers told me NOT to stop until they found out what was going on. It was NOVEMBER of the same year before I knew what was happening. By then I had been through an MRI and a biopsy which left me in more pain than I had been in originally. My marriage was over, he was sleeping on the couch. Then the call came from the breast surgeon. I had Carcinoma In Situ. Lucky for me it was all in one place. Unlucky for me that it had taken over 60% of my right breast.

I already knew my decision before I heard from the doctor. I had decided that IF it came down to it the BREAST had to GO! And that is exactly what I did. I decided to live the rest of MY life according to what made ME HAPPY, regardless of my situation. My total recovery would take the better part of a full year. That was okay by me. I made the most out of everything and everyone in my life. I reconnected with my brother, my cousin and a variety of friends. Most of all I survived and thrived through my FAITH!

At the time I had a beautiful Golden retriever named Dutchess. She would lay by the side of my bed for hours keeping me company. She was a big part of my recovery. We would walk the beach near my house at the time. Then one day someone at the nursing home I worked at, asked if I would bring her in to do patient visits. I said sure why not. I am not sure who got more out of those times, the patients, the dog or myself!

Each and every day that I wake up I live a grateful life. I make sure to tell those I love daily that I am thinking about them. This is something I rarely did before the cancer. But now I realize how fleeting life can be, and how much of it I had wasted on just processing instead of trying to develop my own happiness. I was too consumed with what other people were doing to make THEMSELVES happy.

I have developed my own set of rules and standards to live by. I have embraced my love of seafood,slow dancing , traveling and reading. Oh and lest I forget altogether, my new found LOVE of writing to inspire other people to live to their fullest capacity!