The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

November 21, 2012

Essay: Surviving breast cancer, and losing so many friends

WASHINGTON — My friends are dying. My wonderful, funny, kind, generous friends are dying.

Sometimes I want to scream at the unfairness of it all. But then nobody ever said life was fair. My oncology counselor, who has worked with cancer patients and their families for going on 20 years, told me that when you work in this field, the deaths come in clusters. She doesn't know why, but it just happens that way. This will be my first cluster.

Unlike her, I am not "in this field" by choice. Four years ago, at age 51, I received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Like most people would be, I was blindsided. There is no history of breast cancer in my family. There is, however, a history of other cancers on both sides of my family tree.

I lost my father to cancer when I was barely 12 years old and he was 38. The first tumor was in his throat. His mother was 50 when she succumbed to pancreatic cancer. His youngest brother was a robust 70 when lung cancer stole his life. My feisty, tough maternal grandmother was 75 when they discovered cancer in her kidneys.

Obviously I'm not stranger to death; still, I am struggling big-time here.

When you have cancer, life does an about-face. Suddenly things that seemed so important — climbing the corporate ladder, paying off your mortgage, making sure your kid gets on the best soccer team — well, they just aren't all that important anymore. People matter, quality time with those you love matters, even if — especially if — they are dying.

Take one good friend of mine. She has Stage IV breast cancer. A 38-year-old registered nurse, she is a member of the military. She has climbed the ranks faster than most because she is hardworking, dedicated and determined. The military was her life.

Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Choral group marks 10th anniversary CLINTON -- A Clinton choral group will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. RiverChor will celebrate the anniversary at 2 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church. The concert is free, but donations will be accepted. A reception will be held in th

    April 21, 2014

  • Human trafficking Stickers highlight human trafficking CLINTON -- Area establishments are receiving added decor this week thanks to an anti-trafficking committee. Sisters of St. Francis Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking Anti-Trafficking committee members are placing stickers in local establis

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • Calling all munchkins CLINTON -- The Clinton Area Showboat Theatre is looking for munchkins. Local auditions will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, May 19, at the Showboat for munchkins in the upcoming "The Wizard of Oz" performance. Munchkins may be of any age as long as

    April 22, 2014

  • St. Paul grants Church awards grants

    CLINTON -- An area church recently awarded area organizations with grants. The Bickelhaupt Arboretum, the Felix Adler Children's Discovery Center, First Circle Friends, YWCA, Voices for the Land/Monarch Teacher Network and Haley Westerkamp were grant

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • On Iowa program selects Clinton residents CLINTON -- Four Clinton residents recently were named On Iowa student leaders. Keaton Fuller, Jacinta Jargo, Kenya Lewis and Allyson Naeve were among 235 people selected to serve as welcomers to new first-year and transfer students at the University

    April 22, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Costume jewelry popular at auction It was a large and varied auction on April 12 at the National Guard Armory and by the start of the auction more than 100 people had already registered for their bidding number, and 30 to 40 additional people showed up during the first 20 minutes of t

    April 19, 2014

  • Way of the Cross photo The Way of the Cross By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer The Way of the Cross

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Student leadership Alumni honor students at luncheon CLINTON -- Clinton Community College student leaders were recognized at a student leader luncheon. The CCC Alumni Association honored 30 students, who were nominated by the CCC staff and faculty for showing leadership in the classroom, on campus and

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Elections
Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
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.