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Joined: 03/16/2010
My Story:
In early 2001, I was diagnosed with DCIS in the right breast. A fairly extensive lumpectomy was followed by radiation treatment and tamoxifen. In 2002, I saw my marriage spiral into eventual divorce. What followed was a very dark period in my life, feeling the cumulative effects of my own cancer experience, divorce, loss of loved ones to other forms of cancer, and so on.

Pulling myself up again from those months of darkness, I found inner strength I had underestimated in myself to build a joyous and full life as a single woman in my 40s. My life was filled with friends, volunteerism, teaching and seeing clients as a Reiki Master, and coming to a place of peace and renewed joy of living each day. I had faced my own mortality, come to terms with it unafraid of the future, and had reinforced my philosophy of living every day, every moment to its fullest. I became even more of a hugger!

Enter Dave, a Scotsman who invited me to talk about cycling on the Internet in the Fall of 2004. We shared our different country's customs, foods, weather, and talked about cycling and all sorts of things. Very quickly we both realized that, incredibly, this was something more than a casual "pen pal" relationship that was blooming.

He called me the first time on Christmas Day in 2004.

He proposed over the phone from 4000 miles away in the Spring of 2005 and again in person in June of that year. I was doing work for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Washington, DC and he came over to spend those few days with me there.

In October 2005, he returned to visit me in the States. In November I returned to Scotland with him for three months to meet his sons while he shared his country with me and made preparations to begin a new life together in the States.

Married in March 2006 in Minnesota on the 5th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis, we spend essentially 24/7 together. We seem to never tire of being with each other. We work together, we run errands together, we play together.

Our latest adventure is full-timing across the United States in our RV, currently in New Jersey serving as an on-site security team at a dormant paper mill. We are enjoying the work, the area and the people.

Why? Life is short. We are doing this now while we still can. Dave has not seen anything of the United States and there are places I want to see again, to share with him.

Part of what I feel is my responsibility of being a survivor is the sharing of my story of treatment, despair and, ultimately, hope, peace and joy.

It is my belief that there is a reason for everything; if I had to go through what I went through to get to the person I am now and the life I now enjoy, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Carpe diem!

Peace, strength, love and light to all...

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