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A Humorous Look at the Bright Side of Cancer... and There Is One

December 9th, 2015

Cancer Survivorship-2

August 12 at the Puget Sound Cancer Survivorship Conference
August 12, 2015 at the University of Puget Sound.

I spoke at the Pierce County Cancer Survivorship Conference this past August. You may remember that I also spoke for this group in 2013 with my usual flair for the dramatic.

When I first got the email asking if I would speak, I cancelled my vacation plans and said yes, I would be happy to come and give a presentation. Then, I proceeded to spend the next several weeks tweaking and tweaking my slide show and sweating it out: What would I say? What words of inspiration could I possibly have for all of these strangers that would be signing up for my class?

I was still dealing with extreme survivor’s guilt; so many people around me had died from cancer and I hadn’t. Somehow, life didn’t seem fair. I remembered my Nottingham grade (a diagnostic tool that measured the prognosis and severity of my disease) from 2009. It was not pretty. The surgeon informed me that I had a score of “8 out of 9” or “9 out of 9.”

And that’s when I knew what I had to say. I was supposed to die… and I didn’t. People that attended this conference—after one of the worst experiences of their lives—needed to know that there was hope. A bad test doesn’t always define the outcome. I was still alive, despite the odds, and I was going to shout about it from the rooftop, well, okay… from the front of the room.

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Marie de Haan

Marie de Haan

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