Karen Woelk of Mason, Ohio was treated for a malignant brain tumor at Henry Ford Hospital 19 years ago.
At that time, she had been told by others that she had 9-12 months to live. What she hoped was to see her three-year-old daughter get married - which took place in September.
Here are some excerpts from a letter she wrote about her life.:
Yesterday marked the 19th anniversary of the day I was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. As you know, it has been an arduous journey filled with trials and blessings. My family and I are so thankful for the time and talent that Henry Ford has invested in me. I have nothing worthy to repay you but perhaps knowing that I’m living and giving back to the world restores a measure of the weariness you must feel when those you have tried to heal weren’t healed on this earth.
It is humbling to be a survivor. I am always thankful that I have had another year to watch our two children grow, and deeply saddened knowing many friends have not.
Some things I have learned:
Expect to be amazed by how much strength you find in yourself and others.
Expect to catch yourself sometimes staring at your children, not wanting to miss a breath they take.
Now that I have had cancer … I have enhanced hope. If I had to choose between cancer with hope and no cancer with no hope, I’d take the cancer in order to keep the hope. Hope is saying yes to the whole of our life even if we can only see parts of it.