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    INSPIRATION FOR RRP PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES By Kathy Blankenship

    Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity with an attitude of optimism, strength and persistence."

    Having had 4 cancer diagnoses relating to RRP since 2001, I can certainly identify with the author when she writes “the universe knocked me on my keister. It was then I began listening. And, a slow transformation occurred. I began to know the woman inside, her wants, desires and passions.”

    I like the advice of “taking care of yourself first.” I think it is very easy for RRP patients and parents of children with any illness or disease to set this aside. We do this even when we don’t have major illness staring us in the face. She also points out that we have two ways of looking at life’s events. We can become angry, despondent and blame our dumb-bad-luck. Or, we can look for ways to become transformed by adversity. We cannot control events in our lives, but we do have some control over our adjustments and reactions.” Having been there myself I agree with these points and feel that this article might provide a form of support to those who are dealing with RRP or other life events.

    Perhaps too, we can support each other here by looking at how our own lives are being transformed by our experiences with RRP, our adjustments, reactions, and even personal growth. I hope this stimulates your contributions and that we may all support one another here and experience growth.

    I volunteer with RRP ISA – it helps me feel productive and like I can give something back to an organization that has helped me so much. I also am reminded that each day is truly a gift. My third cancer diagnosis resulted in a laryngectomy 16 months ago. That was devastating to my career as a teacher, my ability to support myself, my personal image of feminity, and my personal and social life. Yet, I’ve learned that I still have a voice. I’ve found new hobbies. My kids are more independent. I’m meeting new people. And most people are very supportive of my “robot-sounding” electrolarynx voice that I still am embarrassed to use. I recently told a close friend “This isn’t what I had planned.” Yet you pick up the pieces and continue on. I dream – most recently of riding in the Seattle to Portland Bike Event in July. A 2-day 200 mile bike ride may be a bit ambitious for someone who only 3 months ago had an advanced cancer diagnosis, surgery, radiation, and weekly biotherapy treatments, whose weight had dropped to 94 pounds from 120 because I could not swallow. I also realize that my health situation is currently monitored from one CT scan to another every 6 weeks and that the small spot in my lung is a concern but it has not changed. One can dwell on the negative or find the positive and move on. At times, we need our friends to encourage and remind us where we’re going and I thank them and many of you for that. It’s not an easy road, but the journey is lots easier with friends.

    Please consider sharing your story, positive transformations, and even your frustrations. Do consider volunteering.