Welcome to the Personal Journal, a blog by people who have cancer or whose lives have been touched by cancer. Follow as they share their journey with us. Please leave a comment to add your voice to the conversation.
We want to take this opportunity to remember the beautiful life and spirit of a very special person that we were so fortunate to have gotten to know throughout this project. Her name is Bette Martin, and she passed away after her long battle with cancer.
You can read Bette’s obituary here.
Bette was enthusiastic about the mission of Facing Cancer Together from the beginning, and openly shared her story in the hopes that others would find some courage to face their own situation with hope.
She helped to illustrate the fear that a person really faces when they hear the words: “You have cancer,” and the inner struggle that a person experiences when you're faced with a new perspective on how to live.
She wrote in her blog titled, "How now shall I live?":
"My relationship with God has been strengthened and continues to grow. I think that the timing of events since the diagnosis has confirmed God’s presence in my life. Evidence of divine intervention has been instrumental in clarifying my trust in God’s love and concern for me. There is much more growth needed in this area of my life. I thank the Creator every morning that I open my eyes and see the light of another day, allowing for the development of a deeper relationship with Him."
She taught us to explore what’s out there, like alternative therapies for mind and body healing, and to tap into our spirituality for strength and guidance.
We thankBette for her honesty, courage, and partnership.
She will be deeply missed but her story will live on in the countless people that she touched throughout her life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bette's family and friends.
-The Facing Cancer Together team
“I have been a very lucky woman to live a creative life as a painter, art teacher, and to write a book,” says Anita Cherry, a resident of York, PA.
Anita also describes herself as a “cancer traveler,” who has been able to move beyond the pain of overcoming the darkness of ovarian cancer, infertility, and recurring thyroid cancer in her life.
Her book, “Letters to Sam,” is the product of thirty years of writing. She says, “The pages went into a private drawer. Before my last surgery four years ago, I went to this drawer, took all of the writing out, and pitched them. After the surgery I wrote the distilled version of all of those pages.”
Writing “Letters to Sam,” not only helped Anita to process her own journey, but it has made her look outside herself and see that her words have helped others face their own fears.
The chapters in her book are moments and feelings that others can relate to. The words let them know that they are not facing their fears alone. Anita says, “It made me feel beautiful inside, and it was a validation that I was a worthwhile person to myself. Nothing creatively had ever set me so free. This book is what I am most proud of.”
A description of the book:
A poetic telling to her adopted daughter of the author's reflections on early-adulthood ovarian cancer, infertility, and recurring thyroid cancer, and of moving beyond the pain to celebrate life and growth.
Anita has generously shared her book (.pdf file), with our community… Because, we truly are in this together.
Click on the book cover to read her inspiring journey and we invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, praise in the comments below.
Enjoy, “Letters to Sam” by Anita Cherry:
We’re in this together… many thanks, Anita, for your moving words.
Reader reviews: "Letters To Sam" This is a poetic journey which maps the triumph of the mind and the spirit of the extraordinary author,Anita Cherry, as she faces life as a cancer traveller.Her sensitivity and sweetness light the way with an upbeat and powerful strength of will which produces a shared bond of joy and hope in the reader. I recommend this book highly and believe it will one day be find its way to the Oprah Show. -Roslyn
Another reader shared in a handwritten note to Anita:
After Linda Fischer discovered a lump in 2003, she got it checked out and doctors confirmed her worst fear: that she had breast cancer. “My whole world just changed,” Linda says. “I just collapsed and thought ‘I can’t believe this.’ It all came so fast and I didn’t have time to think… I went into this shock.”