I don't remember the exact words that the doctor spoke. I do remember a lot of tears. That moment started a period of sadness, worry, and questions, but yet also a time of discovery, hope, and inspiration.

The ugliness often associated with cancer had entered my life in an instant. There was poking and prodding, surgery, needles, uncomfortable tests and scars, chemotheraphy, hair loss, radiation therapy, and a general fear of the unknown.

But as I was unwillingly being initiated into this dreaded club, I was reminded of what is really important to me and awakened to the genuine goodness of the people around me. Hugs from my husband and daughter became more frequent and lingered a little bit longer. Cards flooded my mailbox wishing me encouragement and prayers. Meals were prepared when I was too tired after chemo treatments. As I sat and talked with the same people week after week while hooked up to our IVs receiving chemo, knowing each other only by first names, I was inspired to face this disease with strength and hope. When I was feeling a bit defeated or was second-guessing decisions I had made in my treatment, Dr. Dhillon offered me reassurances that I am not in this alone and reminded me to concentrate on what brings joy to my life.

Now that I am at the end of my treatment I often look back and wonder how I got through it. But you just do. When you start keeping track of everything that is good, there is no alternative but to do whatever it takes to get well, and do it with grace and dignity. What cancer took from me was temporary. What it gave me will last forever.

Kimberly Leblanc