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Beyond Words: Surviving Breast Cancer Mistakes and All

Surviving Breast Cancer Mistakes and All
© 2010 Therese Swarts Iverson
INTRODUCTION
I was diagnosed with breast cancer and didn’t know what to do. Cancer was an unfamiliar
topic for me and it was an unknown illness that happened to someone else. Where would
I turn for the information, the comfort, and the support that I so desperately needed? I
leaned on many people during my battle with cancer and I would like to take this
opportunity to thank them. My struggles would have been harder, lonelier, and more
uncertain without them in my corner.
To my daughter, Michelle, who visited me every day even though she had a family of her
own to take care of and college courses to maintain. She always found the time to drop by
and read to me or massage my weakened legs. Her unwavering support was a constant
source of strength for her father and for me. Michelle also brought my then two-year-old
grandson, Michael, in for visits so that he would not forget who I was—which was very
important to me.
To my son, Scott, who visited me in the early morning hours on his way home from work
as a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department. He worked the midnight shift and, though he
was exhausted, he would quietly wait in my room until I woke up. The mornings were
our special time together though few words were spoken. Even without communicating,
we shared our feelings, our doubts, and our hopes. I was also thankful for the times he
brought my granddaughter, Darbee, in for visits. She was born just two months after my
diagnosis, and she was always a precious reminder that life continued.
To my brother, John, who brought Mother in to see me as she no longer drove. And for
the many meals he delivered to the hospital from his deli when he came to visit so that
Michael could have a break from hospital food.
To my brother, Dave, who rarely missed a day visiting me and always found ways to
keep my spirits up. And for the laptop computer that he loaned Michael so that he could
correspond with the outside world while he stayed with me in the hospital.
To my brother, Tim, for the courage and patience it took to feed me despite my anger and
refusals. For him, no challenge was too great. And for the humor he portrayed throughout
his many visits no matter what went wrong.
(Was I imagining it or did the nursing staff have a difficult time telling you guys apart
when you were wearing your face masks?)
To my sister, Patricia, who dropped by for visits and took dirty clothes home to wash.
And for the many card games we played to keep my mind distracted but alert.
To my sister, Jan, who brought homemade meals for Michael to enjoy when John
couldn’t and for the tasty health drinks she made me to supplement my intake. For the
many times she questioned my medical care and helped Michael sort it out.
To my mother, Marjorie, who called everyday (whether I could answer the phone or not)
and visited whenever she could. I was always reassured in her presence and felt stronger
after her visits. For all of her financial support as well. It helped not having to worry
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