Breast cancer. It's something I didn't think a lot about for much of my life. Then one day when I was working at a small interactive firm, the creative director came up to my desk and said, "How do you feel about breast cancer survivors?"
My response: "I'm in favor of them."
That conversation led to an assignment to interview more than a half-dozen breast cancer survivors so that we could share their stories on the Lee National Denim Day website.
The experience was eye-opening. The stories had some similarities, but not as many as you would think for a group of women in the same metropolitan area. One common thread: they were all fighters who wanted to do whatever they could to prevent other women from going through what they had.
At the last Chicago BlogHer conference in 2007, I had the good fortune to meet Laurie Kingston. I'm not sure where our paths first crossed, but I remember having a meal with her and Susan Getgood (and someone else, too. Suebob? Jane?).
I knew that her blog was called "Not Just About Cancer" and that her supportive friends and family had gotten her the BlogHer trip in the midst of her cancer treatments.
I started reading her blog as soon as I got home. It's a wonderful personal journal that really is about her entire life, not just about the breast cancer that she continues to fight.
I was excited when she announced that she was having a book published. It's called "Not Done Yet: Living Through Breast Cancer" and what impresses me most is that it really is about living. Yes, there's a disease and treatments that get in the way, but that doesn't mean she's stopped doing fun things with her family and friends, knitting, playing online Scrabble (sometimes with me!) and otherwise carrying on with her life.
She readily admits that not every day is a good one, but she's capable of letting that go and moving on. She respects her own limits and takes care of herself to ensure that she can also take care of her family.
The book was a quick but absorbing read. The one time I did put it down, I came back to find that Velvet and Velcro (herself a breast cancer survivor), had taken an interest.
Toward the end of the book there were a few paragraphs that I remembered fondly from her blog because I'd posted them to my blog before as a wonderful example of an attitude toward life to strive for:
Now, whenever I am making lunches, the dog dances with excitement, his eyes sparkling with hope and joyful anticipation.
I want to live my life like that. Life is good, and you never know when cheese might fall from the sky.
That's how I want to live my life, too, Laurie!