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14PaysonhealthWhenHOPELeadsYouHomebyMegWhittemoreIheardthethreewordsbutIcouldntabsorbthem.Surelytheydidnotapplytome.Mydoctorssteadycompassionategazetoldtherealstory.Youhavecancershesaid.Aseismicripplewentthroughmyuniverse.MydependablesturdyspiritstrengthresilienceandoptimisticsenseofhumorslippedawayandIsawnothingbutfearpainandloss.ThatwasMay2012.Theweeksfollowingmydiagnosisforaggressivebreastcancerwereablurofappointmentstestsfollow-upstreatmentdecisionsandcarearrangements.Iwaslookingat14monthsofchemotherapysurgeryradiationandongoingmaintenancedrugs.MarbledthroughoutthoseearlyweekswastheawfulrealizationthatIwasembarkingonajourneyfromwhichImightnotreturn.AschemotherapycommencedandthesideeectssetinwithavengeanceIfoundmyselfdoubtingmyabilitytosuccessfullynavigatethisthingcalledcancer.Ihavealwaysbeensingleself-supportingandabitofaloner.AsIlostmyabilitytoworkandwatchedmyincomedwindletoatricklemyfamilywhomIexpectedtoseemethoughthischallengedesertedmeandsoldthehouseIwasrenting.SointhemiddleofchemotherapythereIwasnoincomenofamilynohomeandrapidlydwindlinghealth.IwasstandingattheedgeoftheabyssfacingsomethingIhadneverfacedbeforedefeat.LifelinesInthemidstofthisnightmareIwalkedintotheHOPEResourceCenteratthePaysonCenterforCancerCare.Iexpectedtoheartheusualarrayofwell-meaningplatitudesandcollectpamphletsonhowtogetthroughhavingcancerallofwhichIthoughtwouldnotbeveryhelpful.WhatIdidntexpectwastheenormouswaveofpracticalassistanceforsomeonelikemewhowasghtingcancerwhiletryingtomaintainherbalancenanciallyemotionallyandspiritually.EverywhereIturnedIfoundlifelineslotsandlotsoflifelines.Andallofthemcomplementaryoeredatnocost.WhenIneededmoneyfortransportationmedicationsphysicaltherapyandfoodAdriannaCrookerCatlinoncologysocialworkerguidedme.WhenIcouldnteatwithoutfeelingnauseousMeganRyderoncologydietitiangentlyrecalibratedmyapproachtofood.WhenIfeltdespairsettlinginDeborahClarkspiritualcarecounselorreframedmylife-viewandgavemeawayback.WhenmyenergyaggedPegPenbergcertiedmasterReikipractitionergavemethegiftofherwisdominreestablishingmyenergythroughReiki.AndthroughitalltherewasSherryGambleadministrativeassistantwhounfailinglysuppliedmewiththeresourceforwhateverIneededanddidsowithcompassionhumorintelligenceandskill.HeadingHomeIenteredmyghtwithcancerfeelingalone.ButasthemonthsunfoldedIfoundIwasverymuchcaredforandmostdenitelynotalone.Asmyfamilymovedawayfrommemyfriendsarrivedinforceandneverleft.Theybecameandremainmytruefamily.AddeverypersonattheHOPEResourceCenterwhomadesureIknewtheywereinthisghtwithmenomatterhowcrankyIwashowbaldIgotorhowangryandemotionalIbecame.Theyoeredmeahomeamidthetsunamioftreatmentssurgeryrecoverynancialworriesandemotionalupheaval.Ilearnedwhatitfeltliketobevalued.Mystoryhasahappyending.Thelengthytreatmentsweresuccessfulineradicatingmycancer.Indthatlifehasmoreclarityandpurposenow.Ilivemorefullyandpracticegratitude.IaminabetterplacenowthanIwasbeforethecancerarrived.MuchofthatcanbeattributedtothecompassionandhelpIreceivedattheHOPEResourceCenter.TomeitistrulyaspecialhomeandlikeeverytruehomeitisaplaceIknowIwillreturntofromtimetotimeoftenfornoreasonotherthantosayThankYou.TheHOPEResourceCenterismadepossiblethroughcontributionstothePaysonCenterforCancerCare.EachyearthousandsofcommunitymemberstaketothestreetsinConcordfortheRockNRacetoraisefundsforthisspecialandimportantresource.TheTheHOPEResourceCenterismadepossiblethroughismadepossiblethroughcontributionstothePaysonCenterforCancerCare.contributionstothePaysonCenterforCancerCare.EachyearthousandsofcommunitymemberstaketoEachyearthousandsofcommunitymemberstaketothestreetsinConcordfortheRockNRacetoraisefundsthestreetsinConcordfortheRockNRacetoraisefundsforthisspecialandimportantresource.forthisspecialandimportantresource.