Saturday, April 30, 2005
Surviving is Surviving
I have finally realized that survival skills apply to every facet of your life. I know this isn't ground breaking news. We use them on the job, in our relationships, in battling cancer, and even on reality television. People always tell me how strong I am and I find it weird. For me, I am just doing what comes naturally. I am responding to a challenge the way it was instilled in me from a young age. If my parents had not told me unceasingly to work hard and be the best, I would not have had the success in academics, or in my professional life, or perhaps even in battling breast cancer. So to me, I have not handled cancer differently than I would attack a challenging project at work or a subject in school that puzzled me. Just "getting by" has never been an option for me (trust me, it's a blessing and a curse). I do not feel that I have done anything super human in any way.

I had the pleasure of meeting and booking Darrell Miller, former professional baseball player, to speak at a luncheon hosted by a professional association with which I am affiliated. Darrell played major league baseball for the Angels (okay, is it the California Angels? Anaheim Angels? Los Angeles Angels? please decide already!) in the 80's. He comes from an athletic family. He said his father gets all the credit. Out of five children, four of them are All-American athletes (including his brother Reggie Miller and sister Cheryl Miller). He talked about how his father used to tell them to be the best they could be. Whatever they wanted to do in life was fine, as long as they strived to be the best they could be. If they wanted to be trash collectors, then fine, as long as they were the best trash collectors. The same goes for being doctor or a lawyer. Striving to be the best, got them an education (paid for with a sports scholarship) and a vocation.

As he spoke, I remember hearing my father and mother giving me the same advice. They always wanted to so much for us and belived in us. I'm so glad they always encouraged, and at times pushed, us. That drive to achieve not only got me an education (paid for by loans) and a vocation, it gave me the strength I needed to simply do what I had to do to be a survivor.

Trust me, you'd do the same thing. -
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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