My heart is so full with gratitude after hearing the news from Marcie Kay that I have been nominated by my mother, Carol, and selected for the Happy Haven master bedroom makeover. When I heard the news, gratitude and relief flooded my body. Happy tears of joy! The idea makes me feel excitement of a new beginning, and an opportunity for a deeper connection to my husband Ray (married for 17 years and together since 2001). Having a fresh space would be so positive for our relationship and even more amazing for my continued healing. Thank you so much Happy Haven! Having a beautiful space to live in, rest and recover from my cancer journey will truly be a blessing.

Ray and I purchased our house in June 2021 with the long-term intentions of caretaking for my aging parents who own the house next door. Our new home needed a lot of tender loving care, repairs, renovation, and fix-up. I love our new home but the dreams we have had for fix up had to be postponed. We barely had the movers deliver the furniture from our old house when I was diagnosed with Triple positive HERS 2 breast cancer with lymph involvement. Between the new medical expenses and the sale of our old house taking much longer than expected, our budget for repairs decreased and the unpacking and settling into our new home took a rather extended pause. Support in fixing up the master bedroom is a dream come true.

In July of last year, a couple weeks after moving into our new home, Ray and my father, Mike, immediately prepared the guest room on the main floor for me because I was unable to walk up and down the stairs while recovering from lymph removal surgery, which was immediately followed by TCH chemotherapy (6 rounds). In December, I had a double mastectomy with the optimistic hopes of “no residual disease”. My pathology results came back shortly before our daughters’ holiday break from school and to our surprise, the treatment plan wasn’t over. In January 2022, I started to receive targeted chemotherapy (14 rounds) and radiation (34 rounds). In April 2022, I had a total hysterectomy. Ray has been so thoughtful and loving, he has started trying to create a peaceful sanctuary of a master bedroom for me, while trying to work full-time, take care of me, manage the household tasks, and support our two girls. The anticipation to get medically cleared to move upstairs to the master bedroom once my mobility increases is so exciting! This excitement has grown exponentially as I am so grateful to Happy Haven. Although I still have 9 more rounds of targeted chemotherapy, my family and I believe that I will be free from residual disease by Thanksgiving this year. I’m not yet aware of what the follow-up treatment looks like for 2023 but am crossing my fingers and praying for the best.
When I am asked to share about my journey with cancer, far too often the person asking me to share expects to hear details about the diagnosis and medical treatment plan. Focusing on these details sadly delays me from sharing about the gifts I have received and the deep sense of gratitude I feel for all of my supporters. As a positive and optimistic person who always looks for the best in everyone and in every situation, I consider myself lucky and honored to have had such an amazing team to help me along the way. I have an excellent medical team, for who’s help I am most grateful. My family and friends have been absolutely supportive and I am grateful every day for their love. My parents have become the caretakers for me and they have graciously lifted a weight from my husband’s shoulders by driving our two girls to school and taking me to my various doctors appointments. I have also been surrounded by amazing women from both Camp Experience (I have been a member for more than 15 years) and my cancer support group, Hope Held by a Horse. These valuable relationships and gifts have allowed me to be my best self with optimism and joy, despite the difficulty of going through cancer treatment. Thank you, My Happy Haven, for becoming part of my healing team, alongside my friends and family, and for honoring me with this amazing gift.