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Ten Years

One of the very first thoughts I had this year when I flipped over the calendar to 2104 was gosh, it’s been ten years. I then wondered if anyone else in my family had had a similar thought. I didn’t ask them. I don’t know why I did not.

Regardless, it’s now been ten years since cancer slithered its way into the inner circle of my family and robbed us all of more than a small amount of innocence, stability and peace of mind. And of course, a few years later it robbed us of a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and more.

Things have not been the same since that day ten years ago.

How could they be?

Ten years ago, on my birthday no less, was when my mother discovered the tiny lump in her right breast. Ten years ago my mother said to me, “Nancy, I’m so sorry to be the one to forever spoil your birthday.” (I don’t feel she did that by the way).

You see as I’ve written about before, my parents were supposed to be on their way to my house that fateful February day to celebrate my birthday. My mother was big on birthday celebrations. Instead, I got the call and heard her quivering voice relaying her unwelcome news. Her usually steady voice suddenly was not, but instead was filled with nervous apprehension. I knew immediately upon hearing it that something was terribly wrong. I was right.

Yes, ten years ago cancer, the uninvited and very unwelcome guest intruder, showed up for my birthday.

That fateful February day was the beginning of an unimaginable chain of events.

My mother’s domino effect was set in motion that February day; as was my own, though I did not realize this at the time.

Mine continues still.

But this post isn’t about any particular domino, well other than that first one I guess.

2014 is just another year. It holds just another February. This February holds just another birthday. This birthday is just another reminder.

I make room for the reminders because I must.

I want to remember. I need to remember.

And so I do.

I remember.

What reminders do you make room for because you must?





Beth L. Gainer

Friday 7th of February 2014


I hope you had a wonderful birthday and many, many more. I'm so sorry about that terrible moment, one of many, in how cancer invaded your family's life.

And remembering is powerful.

As for me, winter pretty much is filled with memories. Everything cancer-related seems to have happened to me during winter: my diagnosis, surgeries, scares, you name it.


Friday 7th of February 2014

Beth, Thank you dear friend. And I know winter is a season full of memories for you... xoxo

Brenda Coffee

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

The day when the dominos stop falling can't come soon enough. Blessings & Happy Birthday to you, sweet lady.

XOXOXO, Brenda


Wednesday 5th of February 2014

Brenda, It's great to hear from you! You've been very quiet. And thank you!

Elizabeth J.

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Happy Birthday. May God bless you as you have blessed so many others. So hard to miss our mothers when these special days come. I hope the day comes when breast cancer either is no more or has a real cure. That no more mothers and daughters will share that dread disease.


Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Elizabeth, Thank you for the lovely comment. And I hope that day comes too...

Jan Hasak

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

2014 will mark the tenth year since my dear mom passed away from lung cancer. It's not an anniversary that I would deliberately mark, but your blog post reminds me of it. The 10 years will be this November. My son used to text me every year on that date, letting me know he was thinking of me. It was so sweet.

I now count down the years since my stage IV diagnosis; the more years I can live with this condition, the more I know that the drugs have advanced in their power, and the more I know I am helping others by participating in this clinical trial. It's an anniversary of the utmost importance.

Thanks for this post, Nancy, a wonderful tribute to a most wonderful woman, your mother. xox


Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Jan, I remember you wrote one time about your son doing that. What a loving gesture that was. Sweet indeed. I guess this November will mark a milestone in time for you as well then. And lets keep counting those years up for you! You are doing something really important by participating in the clinical trial, for you of course, but also for countless others. Thanks for reading and sharing thoughts.

karen sutherland

Tuesday 4th of February 2014

dear nancy,

ten years ago, I bet you never would have imagined that you would be writing on your own blog... the one that has chronicled both your mother's illness as well as your own. your mother - how proud she must be of her girl, now grown into an advocate for all who face the challenges you both could you not feel that you must remember?

my "must remember day" is in December of 2011, while hugh and I sat across the dining room table, and he knew I had just answered my breast surgeon's phone call to confirm I had ST IV Met BC. I heard and felf a big whoosh of air released from hugh's breath, and we held each other tightly. and at that moment I felt my Sweet Love willing himself back to health from his own cancer so that he could be with me every step of the way -and he was. that's a moment I always will remember, the one I must remember, the one that is such a testament to the incredible love we shared.

you may not always feel your birthday is in any way special, but I do. it's a time to bless the day you were born, the long and winding path that brought you here to us. I bless both your dear mother, and you, Nancy, just for being the wonderful advocate and friend you are to so many of us.

so Happy Birthday!

much love and light to you,

Karen xoxoxox


Tuesday 4th of February 2014

Karen, You are so right! Ten years ago I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined writing a blog, nor of course, would I ever have imagined receiving a cancer diagnosis. Your must remember moment is heartbreaking, but at the same time, incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. And thank you for your kind words of love and support. I appreciate how you always sign off with the words, "much love and light to you", but really, Karen, you ARE love and light. You are! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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