I have talked about the medical professionals who have assisted me in my cancer journey; however, the people who I have the utmost gratitude for as I have gone through this experience are my family. They are truly the glue that holds me together! First and foremost, is my wonderful husband, Jerome who has stood by my side, as I have gone through all of the ups and downs of this cancer experience; he keeps me grounded. He has been the constant in my life and is my rock that I rely on the most and I don’t think I would have made it through this cancer ordeal without him!

The separation while I was being treated was difficult especially during the Tsunami and Earthquake not knowing what was going to happen and wondering if and when I would see my husband and children again. However, the separation I looked at it like a deployment. That was not new to us as we have been through that before when Jerome was sent to Bosnia years before, but it had been such a long time. I really admire the men and women in the Armed Forces and the sacrifices that their families have to face on a daily basis.

This experience has made us take a step back and really appreciate each other that much more. It has made our marriage stronger than ever as we appreciate and know that life is so fragile. I am extremely grateful that I have someone in my life that puts my needs ahead of his own, which is the way it should be and sadly it doesn’t always work that way for everyone as I know many people who have walked out on their better half at a time when they need them the most.

Next, I want to express my appreciation to our wonderful daughters, Chelsie and Chandra who were there to support my husband during the Japan tragedy being that I was not able to be there, and to ensure that our home was well taken care of; I’m sure that it was quite a learning experience for them as well. If anything, we have learned as a family to really rely on one another and we have come out stronger, because of this experience. I reflect many times on the song by Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger.” If it doesn’t kill me, this cancer WILL make me stronger and I know that to be true! When cancer strikes, it doesn’t just affect that individual it really does affect the entire family and can turn your whole world upside down. It makes you appreciate each other so much more and every moment you have together is priceless!

I am so grateful to my wonderful parents who have taught and raised me to always give my best efforts in everything that I do. They have taught me to work hard and have molded and shaped me into the person I am today and I feel so fortunate to have them in my life.