A Fellow Michigan Girl

One of the positive trade-offs to having been diagnosed with breast cancer over 5 years ago, is the many really special people I have met and connected with as a result, such as the members of my different care teams (NOLA and Chicago) and the wonderful women who share a cancer diagnosis, breast cancer in particular. The two-way street of giving and receiving support as we journey along after a cancer diagnosis has been imperative to my living a full life. Initially, (obsessively) reading blogs written by breast cancer survivors helped me become aware of the supports and resources that might be available and then writing my own blog helped me feel connected to others. I’ve made friends in the blogosphere. Friends who get what I’m going through and who I can share with. Friends who give support and who also gain it from me. What sucks is that the common denominator is not something innocent like a shared love of cute panda videos; instead, the common denominator of the majority of blogs I follow are blogs written by women who are coping with breast cancer or other cancers. And cancer can kill, claiming once vibrant lives.   As fellow blogger Eileen Rosenbloom puts it:

“It’s been said that one of the hardest parts of growing old is watching your friends die. The same could be said for cancer patients because we lose so many. ”

Cancer claimed a number of people in my world in June, including a wonderful member of the blogosphere, Karen Sutherland. Karen did not actually have her own blog, but instead she was known for commenting on the blogs of others and would sign off her comments with Karen TC–The Commentor. I was one of the lucky people who she gave support to over the past couple of years and shared her stories with me in the comments section of Searching for EMWA. I treasure those comments. I found out that she was born in Michigan and had interesting stories when she responded to my post about Ice:

dear joanne,

brilliantly written! ice as a metaphor for the unforeseen, for what is sneaky and stealthy – well, having lived in Michigan, I know it’s hard to learn it’s lessons, and once learned, they stay with us, yes? loved the photo of you and pals on the ice rink. my mom was a championship ice and roller skater, and taught me to skate before I could walk (steadily). we had a big woods out back where places would flood then freeze, and I remember hanging onto rushes and saplings to stay upright! later, my dad, too, constructed ice rinks each winter in our back yard. it is soooo cold here today – I’d much rather see ice
chipped off for margaritas!

much love and light,
karen

Her words of support when Zoey died still make me tear up:

dear Joann,

I am so sorry that your beautiful Zoey has died. you and Terry gave her such a wonderful life, caring so tenderly for her through her illness. I loved reading every word of your tribute to her and know she gave your lives such joy, laughter, and comfort. what a lovely soul you have to watch over you and still be able to give you love and be a presence – dogs, especially like your precious Zoey, have such an extraordinary sense of everything we feel and all the love (that never dies) they give us is such a wondrous gift. thank you for letting us know that her last days were happy ones. please accept my sincere condolence and know I am sending many gentle and warm hugs to help comfort you as you grieve for your darling girl.

much love,

Karen XO

Beautiful tributes were written by both Yvonne and Marie to honor Karen and they offer much deeper insight in to her story. Such a wonderful soul.

Karen TC, I will miss you. xoxoxo

 

 

 

 

 

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