Cancer. That happens to other people, right? No, it happens to us. It does not discriminate. It does not take into consideration the color of our skin, our religion, our age or our social status. Whether we have children, young or grown, is also not part of the equation. There is basically no exemption from cancer — no one is immune to it. Are you a sinner? Are you a saint? Are you famous? Are you an athlete? Are you burning the candle at both ends just to make ends meet? Again, it doesn't matter.

Cancer does not take into consideration our plans for the future. Our dreams. Our hopes. It does not wait for us to mark things off our bucket list before making its very unwelcome appearance. We are not forewarned to get our affairs in order. The circumstances under which we are diagnosed are as varied as the types of cancer we have. Maybe we were diagnosed at a routine exam, a trip to the ER or because we were not feeling well and thought we had a cold (true of my first diagnosis). Once diagnosed, life as we know it is forever changed. In an instant. Just like that.

Cancer. It just happens.

Share Your Thoughts

How did you react to your cancer diagnosis? What were your initial thoughts? How did your outlook on life change? Was it immediate or did it take time to sink in?

About the Author

Jennifer Pichelman was born in Racine, Wis. She graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin with an undergraduate degree in business management and communication. She recently celebrated 25 years with a manufacturing company in Racine and currently works in marketing. Jennifer was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1994 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation. Due to the radiation to her chest, Jennifer was told she had an increased risk of breast cancer, which her oncologist diligently screened for with mammograms and breast MRI's. She remained cancer free until December of 2012, when she was diagnosed with a secondary cancer, breast cancer. When a small mass was discovered after a mammogram, deep down Jennifer knew she had breast cancer. After biopsy results came back, Jennifer was formally diagnosed on Dec. 28, 2012 -- 3 days after Christmas.

Jeanette Joseph

Very well written and so true!