And so here I am.

Communicating with Family — By on August 1, 2009 at 6:07 am

According to, approximately 1 in 3 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. I vaguely recall seeing a shirt with that statistic on it around the time of my husband’s diagnosis. I also remember seeing that it also said “The other 2 will love someone diagnosed with cancer.” (My gratitude to the unknown creator of that shirt.)

In our family, the math works. The “1 in 3” is my husband, diagnosed two years ago with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the “other 2” that love him are our four year old son and myself. He is currently in remission and we are still in the process of redefining what constitutes normal for him, and indeed for all of us. We are grateful and cautiously optimistic about the future.

After the shock of the diagnosis, the most surprising part of this whole roller coaster ride has been the realization that we may never really be done with this. It’s not news to any of the rest of you in this shared experience but a cancer diagnosis really does integrate itself into the fabric of a family. It is no longer a focus of daily activity and consciousness but it is always there in our peripheral vision; making us look over our shoulders, shaping decisions and providing context to life.

And so here I am. I am married to a cancer survivor who recently completed his long held (and once postponed) goal of becoming an Ironman triathlete. I am the mother to our son who, at age four, knows the word isotope and which elevator button to push to get to Daddy’s doctor. I have a day job to make a living but I also hope to make a life by helping other families affected by cancer find the words and help that they need to find their way through.

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