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Saturday, November 03, 2018

Just an adenoid cystic carcinoma wearer sharing happiness with the world

I am reaching out to all of the healthcare professionals and healthcare professional students that have had contact with me and other cancer patients. This head and neck cancer patient thanks you for your dedication, and resilience during the long dark hours required on the pathway to attaining your professional expertise. 

L-R: 2nd place winner & wedding officiant, groom, & bride
in Mountain Home, Idaho
Thanks to you and your grit, I kept my grit and made it to see my daughter and new son-in-law happily married on October 20th. We drove to Mountain Home, Idaho, and witnessed the wedding as it took place before the award ceremony at the World IHGF/SAAA Highland Games. (If you are interested in how the games scores went: the groom came in 6th, and the wedding ceremony was conducted by the 2nd place award winner!)

Reception in Lincoln, Nebraska
One of my colleagues asked me what it felt like to have a married daughter. The flood of emotions at that moment kept me from saying what I truly felt – like I had won the biggest lottery in history. During my own dark days of treatment during 2006, I was hoping to make it to high school graduations, afraid to contemplate future weddings. Yet here I am, 12 years later, still casting a shadow and paying taxes (grin!). And I know I didn’t do it alone. I will never know how my personal cancer path influenced or impacted the many health professionals and health professional students that joined me along the way. Nurses, physicists, physical therapists, family medicine physicians, otolaryngologists, medical nutritionists, medical librarians, my family, my friends… I only hope that this message reaches some of them and lets them know that I benefitted from their hard work, and they made my life better through their care.

If you are a healthcare professional or student that works with cancer patients, I am also grateful for all of the traffic jams, DMV lines, bills, frustrations, slow grocery check-outs, missed deadlines… basically, my day-to-day life, too!

I have no idea what is coming up next. As an ‘elderly’ radiation therapy patient, I expect more side-effects of the original head/neck radiation than anticipate adenoid cystic carcinoma returning. When I have new pain, I don't leap to "mets have arrived", or I would be one very crazed Cheeky Librarian! (Ok, to be honest: more than I currently am.)

If you found this message thanks to Twitter, I hope it was worth the trip, and brightens your day. Please share it with all healthcare professionals and students you may know. If you are someone like me that wears adenoid cystic carcinoma, you can search Twitter for more news on this rare cancer using #adenoidcystic and #adenoidcysticcarcinoma. 

Here’s to all adenoid cystic carcinoma wearers enjoying more lifetime milestones together, thanks both to our personal grit, and to the healthcare professionals and students dedicated to the science and research that makes our shared world a better place.

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