Tuesday, January 16, 2018
A Year: 12 Months, 56 Weeks, 365 Days
Within the week I will turn 54 and I will honor the day I was told I had cancer. It’s a lot to absorb within a few days but so is my life these days. I received a call from my doctor that will forever change my life one year ago. It’s a call NO ONE wants to ever receive. I have been told that one becomes a cancer survivor the day they are diagnosed. Since, I have spent 38 weeks out of last 56 weeks undergoing chemotherapy, survived three surgeries, and can now say I survived cancer. I hope it’s forever, but of course the frightening thought that I may be among the 20% of women who will experience a metastatic re-occurrence, will forever follow me and Liz as we try our best to find a “new normal”.
They say, “never a better time like the present”, and life with cancer will drill those words into your brain like nothing else can. And so, I’m pleased to let you know Liz and I have decided to leave the home we have known for over two decades and re-locate to our condo in Fort Lauderdale. And it’s a good thing.
I have called the DC area home for almost 30 years. I moved to the area immediately after college in the winter of 1986, to work for Senator Harkin as an unpaid intern. After a few months with no income, I moved to the Boston area and fell in love with the Red Sox – staying in contact with the Senator’s office and hoping for a paid opportunity to work in his office. That opportunity came in 1989, and I have lived here ever since.
I met and married my wife here, I have filled my resume with incredible opportunities here, and conversely have had my heartbroken professionally too many times to mention here. And I have worked for and beside tremendously talented individuals here. I have made life-time friends here. I grew my village here. I have lived a full life here. I also was diagnosed with cancer here.
The decision to re-locate our lives closer to my brother and his family, to warmer weather, to a less stressful atmosphere, to a condo – on the wonderful intracoastal with a view of Atlantic Ocean - we spent blood, sweat, and a few tears to remodel to our heart’s content has been comforting. Leaving our friends, our neighborhood, the wonderful District of Columbia and all it affords culturally and historically, and the superb medical teams we’ve both been able to cobble together over decades will not be easy. But nothing truly worth your time is ever easy.
Professionally, I don’t know where I’ll go or where I’ll end up. I have been privileged to join a few Boards and to work on a few projects with special nonprofits in the south Florida area already, hoping to lend my voice, my experience, and my love of management to hopefully make a positive difference. The importance to give back and to lend a hand has surfaced to the top of my “to-do” list.
My 53rd year has been a year for the ages. It’s been horrifically tragic and wonderfully uplifting. As it comes to an end, I can honestly say I understand who makes up my village. I will not take any moment of any day for granted. I see the world - my world - clearer than I ever have. I recognize that my time on this earth is measured, and that many women diagnosed with me are not here to celebrate another day. So I’m really happy to see my 54th birthday.
Lift a glass to me on my birthday, January 19th and again on January 24th to honor the day I became a cancer survivor.
And make plans to visit us in Fort Lauderdale! Go Vikings, SKOL!!!!
Posted by JJB at 2:22 PM