McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

November 27, 2012

Essay: Surviving breast cancer, and losing so many friends

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

She is determined to live but is not taking any chances. In fact, she wrote and illustrated a children's book for her as-yet-unborn grandchild just in case she didn't live long enough to meet him. Her grandson is now 7 months old. The new grandma is working on the sequel.

She and I share a love of writing. She is the one who encouraged me to start teaching writing again. I am recently divorced after 20 years of marriage and four children. Devastated by the breakup of my family followed by my battle with breast cancer, I wasn't sure I could ever do anything again. My friend was sure I could.

I have not known any of these women very long, but cancer fosters an instant intimacy. I love my friends. When we make dates, I usually say something like "Don't try getting out of this by dying on me." When I go on vacation, I tell them they had better be here when I get back. We laugh. It helps. But the truth is, they might not be here when I come home.

I have been cancer-free for four years now. I have not always been grateful for that fact. Treatment was tough, and years later the side effects still dog me. Worse, though, is the fact that I have lost so very many loved ones to this terrible disease. Being a survivor is hard sometimes. I'm always glad when October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is long gone and the world around me is no longer awash in pink.

---

LaVerde teaches writing for Inova Cancer Services' Living With Cancer program.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.