I am 57 and have been a cancer patient for almost three years now, having been diagnosed in August 2013 with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and incurable biliary liver cancer.
At the time the cancer was discovered, I was a very active 54-year-old executive at a prominent media company. I went to the gym faithfully to work out 3-5 times a week and ate blueberries and yogurt almost every morning. I loved hiking, yard work and traveling with my family. My husband, Gary, and I had been married for 33 years. We were teenage sweethearts, and have been blessed to raise two talented, beautiful girls – Kendall, a doctoral candidate at Princeton, and Hannah, a student-athlete (long jump and multi-events) at the University of Louisville. I had a job I loved with a great company, Scripps Networks Interactive. And only a month earlier Gary and I just completed construction and moved into the home of our dreams on the lake in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had the perfect life, you could say.
I still do. Cancer has caused a lot of changes in my life, but that hasn't changed, thanks to my faith, my family and my friends.
The first words the doctor used to describe cholangiocarcinoma http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/liver_tumor_center/conditions/bile_duct_cancer.html were,
"It's a nasty one. Very aggressive." We were told that most patients with this particular disease live 12-18 months -- three years at the most if they respond well to treatment. Well, I'm still here. I remain physically active, having taken up tennis again, which I play several times a week, and continuing to enjoy hiking, biking and traveling. And while I retired from the demands of the job I held for more than a dozen years, I have gone back to work as the National Director of Marketing & Communications for the nonprofit Random Acts of Flowers.
It's a little surprising how quickly you manage to find a new normal. Even more surprising is that my life actually is better, I am happier and more content, since being diagnosed with cancer. God is good. All the time.
Thank you for visiting our site. I hope it keeps you updated on my journey and what's going on with our family. We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of love and support and ask that you please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers.