Guest Post –

Last Wednesday I left our home earlier than usual so I could make it on time to my yearly check up with my doctor. I rushed in after parking the car, looked at the clock which said 7:40, breathed a sigh of relief that I was on time, plopped in a chair and grabbed a magazine. As I began to read, a woman caught my eye as she does each time I come into the office. I would say she is 70-75 years old with glasses, white curly hair, a few well placed character lines and a smile she shared generously with each patient she checked in. She was proficient with all of the computer commands, a skill which required effort to master for those of us who didn’t grow up with computers. She reminded me of a quote I heard years ago, although I can’t remember where: “A smile is a light in the window of your face that shows the heart is at home.” Her heart was definitely at home and she possessed a simple beauty that can’t be bought at any price; it is earned by a life well lived. To me she was more beautiful than the emaciated models we see at every turn these days.

Being one of those people who enjoys working, I loved that fact that she was still in the work force and contributing in a productive way. Her name is Jo and I told her in all earnestness, “You are my hero. I want to be just like you when I’m your age.” Her smile got even wider as she said, “I love my job… this place just keeps me going.”

Henry Van Dyke once said, “I shall grow old, but never lose life’s zest; because the road’s last turn will be the best.” Because of the significant advances in cancer care, I feel my older years will definitely be my best. Thanks to the science of mammography, my cancer was a bump in the road; not a road block so huge that it ruined my life. It has, however, colored the way I view life, relationships, challenges, and just about everything. I see more beauty in the little things around me each day, and my sense of gratitude has reached a level I never knew before. In this sense, cancer has blessed my life.

As I left the doctor’s office that day, I stopped for a moment and watched Jo as she shared her smile with each patient she signed in. She had such style! I then headed to face the challenges of the day, encouraged and determined to be more like Jo as I greeted my clients at the bank. I also hoped that when I am her age, I will still be going strong. I want the last turn of my life’s road to definitely be the best!

-Kathy Christensen
Survivor
Member, Lifting Hearts

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