Helpless to Hope

Days before my diagnosis, I was laid off from my job as a special education parapro. At the time, I was understandably upset but now I know I was being prepared for a journey that would change my life! I had been putting off my annual checkup until the end of the school year so when I was laid off I made the appointment.

I didn’t give a second thought when my doctor ordered an xray after checking my urine. I finished the appointment and went on my way. She called me later that day stating my left kidney was misshapened and she said it was renal cell carcinoma. My heart sank! I had to wait three weeks to get into an urologist to see how this was going to be treated. Luckily the wonderful doctor who would do my surgery called me the next day and discussed my options and put my mind at ease. After two more weeks I had my kidney removed and started a six week recovery. The cancer was contained inside the kidney so I wouldn’t need chemo or radiation but still went to see an oncologist for check ups. On my second visit, the cancer institute that my oncologist belonged to was having a patient appreciation day and I was invited to sit with a group of ladies from the We All Can cancer support group. They told me about their group and they encouraged me to start attending their meetings. The first meeting, I felt like I was home!

To make a long story short, I now run the group. Now my life is dedicated to helping other cancer patients make it through their journey! The Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute in Flint Michigan has an amazing Quality of Life director named Sue Root. Sue is our angel! She finds grants to help pay for healing classes for our group. Every month we can go to yoga and meditation. She holds a monthly art class where we can express our journey through different mediums. We have become good friends and I help her organize classes and fundraisers for our cancer patients and caregivers. We even raised the money to attend the Stowe Weekend of Hope the last two years.

My new life is very rewarding and I am so happy that I have experienced it! I have never been a person who believed things happen for a reason until I was diagnosed with cancer. I believe it now!