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Most everyone has a special place that they like to spend time at. Mine is at a small rocky outcrop by a lake, private and quiet, a place to watch the sun set, and hear loons on the water. In 2006, that place had been my favorite for many years. In 2007, I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, a large tumor, HER positive with positive lymph nodes. Throughout chemo I went back to this little spot every day, in my imagination. I would close my eyes while the chemo dripped into me and I would return. The images became so vivid that I was concerned that I was hallucinating. It was an oasis, a calm safe place for me to go to in my mind when my world was crashing down around me, when I had no more strong left in me for me, my husband, my two children, the rest of the world that needed me strong and well. In 2008 I returned and sat and cried until I ran out of tears: fear, relief, overwhelming gradititude to just be alive. And this year I have just returned, and I laughed and sat and smiled, and cried. Happy to be alive. Happy to be privileged to be here- and there - still. If cancer touches your life, I hope that you can find an oasis, your own place, where you can go, be safe, calm, and free to scream and cry if that is what you need. Modern medicine may have saved my life, but the memory - and reality - of this safe place saved my sanity.
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