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I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer on January 16, 2015 and finished my last round of chemotherapy six months later on July 16, 2015. Hooray!

When I first found out I had cancer my biggest concern was maintaining a sense of normalcy for my little girls, ages 7 and 8. I wanted to make sure that no matter what I was going through, my kids could still be kids. And they have been. It's been such a joy to see them laughing, playing and embracing life just like always. It has brought many joyful tears to my eyes over the past 6 months.

But in the midst of it all, we have also found a new normal. There have been many challenges and difficult times, and my kids have felt them right along with me. We have learned a lot through this process. I have learned to let my kids do things for themselves that they have long been capable of doing. And they have learned to be more independent and self sufficient. They have risen to the occasion. They can fix their own simple meals, clean up after themselves, and even help with their own laundry. I have learned to admit that sometimes I need help, even from my kids. And they have learned to be eager and joyful helpers. Once again they have risen to the occasion. And perhaps greatest of all, they have learned to rely on each other and support each other in the midst of everything, something that I could have only imaged from two girls who previously thrived on sibling rivalry.

So I've learned that "normal" is a relative thing. And our new normal is pretty darn good. I've learned that life after cancer just might be sweeter than it was before. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Laralee DeHart
Houston, TX

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