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In a World With Cancer, Miracles Are All Around

I am typing this as I wait to be called back for scans. The miracle of imaging and the advances that have been made in the 17 years since my diagnosis do not escape me. I will soon receive the results that will determine my next steps. I will never meet or know all of the people that it takes to create these images, to read the results, or even to help make important choices in moving forward.
Chloe and I walked through the field this morning and made our way to an old barbed wire fence. Along the wire is a flourishing blackberry bush. We have been watching it with great anticipation every day; first for the flowering of fruit, then for the berries to appear, and then for the changing of colors from green, to red, to the now juicy deep color that proves they are ready to eat. Chloe squealed with delight and then eagerly began to fill her basket.

I savored the moment and the wonder of the warm spring air, the simple happiness of my daughter, and the gift of what it is like to live fully in spite of stage 4 colon cancer. I know, without a doubt, that enjoying a morning like this is a miracle. We walked back toward the car and Chloe devoured a blackberry proclaiming it was "just right." I felt her innocence and wonder consume me and the realization that moments like these are what make life so amazing!  

I started the car to the sound of a CD that Katie and Karlie played long ago:  

Miracles happen, miracles happen
You showed me faith is not blind
I don't need wings to help me fly
Miracles happen, miracles happen  

I am typing this as I wait to be called back for scans. The miracle of imaging and the advances that have been made in the 17 years since my diagnosis do not escape me. I will soon receive the results that will determine my next steps. I will never meet or know all of the people that it takes to create these images, to read the results, or even to help make important choices in moving forward. These professionals that give of themselves day in and day out, the technology that they offer, and the huge impact imaging provides tend to fade into the background of our care and are often under-appreciated as we reach for the treatments and options that provide us with the hopeful gift of time.     

Last month, YES (beatlivertumors.org) participated in the 7th Annual Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research Medical Technology event on Capitol Hill. The showcase demonstrates a vast array of innovative imaging technologies from the perspective of the patient, the researcher and the manufacturer and shares the need to continue the development of these important technologies. Brian MacLeod, a 12-year stage 4 colon cancer survivor, was there to provide his perspective and the importance imaging provides.  

Awareness is essential to ensure those engaged in funding and policy and funding decisions understand the technology and what must be done as a patient community to continue to improve patient care. While there, we raised awareness and understanding, as well as created an environment that will hopefully sustain consistent federal investments into imaging research. The miracles that imaging offers to patient care were emphasized.  

Miracles are all around and I recognized mine in the fruitful blackberry bush, the happiness of my child, with the technology of imaging, the compassion of my nurses, the kindness of friends and the love of my family. If you are reading this, you are a part of my miracle today. Miracles are all around ...  

Have you found your miracle today?

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.
Suzanne Lindley has been living with metastatic colorectal cancer since 1998. She is the founder of YES! Beat Liver Tumors, an organization for individuals living with metastatic liver tumors, and an advocate for Fight Colorectal Cancer.
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