Valentine’s Day is very special for David and me and and it has nothing to do with red hearts and flowers. On Valentine’s Day 2002, I was diagnosed with stage 3B breast cancer. The prognosis wasn’t good. Life expectancy was about 50% for 5 years.
This week we celebrated 10 years of survival, despite dreadful odds. It was a wonderful day. We were at the Capitol for Centennial Day. I was part of a group of Scottsdale Society for Women Writers who had a booth there. We expected a warm spring day. It was pretty cold for AZ. Rain was predicted. Not a drop fell and the sun came out about mid day. The other booths were full of intelligent information about AZ history and events related to the Centennial. The speakers were appropriate and the entertainment was fun. At three o’clock, Wayne Newton, in his best Vegas tuxedo, with his full orchestra behind him, performed his Vegas review and David and I danced on the Senate lawn.
Earlier in the day, one of our biggest advocates, Representative Cecil Ash, look me to lunch and invited me up to the gallery so he could introduce me to the legislature at the afternoon session. I listened in awe as he spoke about our first meeting, my journey through prison, and our work at Gina’s Team. It was an amazing way to celebrate this most important tenth anniversary of my journey. I am very thankful to be alive and traveling this path.
Here’s what I know about life’s journeys. Each of us has one. It isn’t easy. It can be humiliating and debilitating like mine or some other challenge of loss, pain and grief. If you can embrace your journey (usually after it’s over) and realize what you have learned and gained, then the blessing comes in using the experience, the wisdom, and the love to help others who are now embarking on a similar journey. That is one of the secrets of life. Service to others is a gift and we learn best how to serve from the difficult times.