Monday, July 03, 2006
Independence Day
Two years ago I was bravely trying to keep my cancer diagnosis under wraps while I tended to the last minute details for 4th of July festivities in my community. Few people knew my secret as I lined up parade participants, greeted grand marshals, and spoke joyously to the press about freedom, patriotism, and family celebrations. My family, with heavy hearts, waited for me to return home after a morning of work that in the past has felt more like play. My nephew, Chris, and his wife Theresa, sweetly sat curbside with a bouquet of spider mums resembling fireworks, patiently waiting for me without ever once saying the word “cancer.” Although, the weight of what lie ahead seemed greater than the military tank lining up for the parade, any acknowledgement of it and I would have crumbled right there, in the middle of the street, on Independence Day, while the bands played on and children marched by, filmed for posterity by local television.

Few knew my secret that day. A lot has changed in two years. One thing that has not changed is that my community throws one of the best hometown 4th of July celebrations in the nation. Even though I seem to connect the feelings that resonate so strongly from events in 2004 with 4th of July events, I know that each year moving forward is a good year. Each year is a chance to try to make meaning of all this, my life, its purpose. Each year is an opportunity to see people smile, hear their laughter, and watch fireworks light up the sky.
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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