Dr. Alexander,

When I was in the office on Wednesday, I made a comment about cancer being good for me. You asked me to write something for you:

Cancer has been good for me. I have come to embrace a version of myself I never would have considered. Who knew my best look would come from the outcome of cancer and its treatments: perky, natural-looking breast; very short, more white than black hair; CONFIDENCE. When I look at myself I feel beautiful and empowered.

When I first came to you I was shell-shocked from and afraid because of my first cancer diagnosis. I remember at the time I told you, “I just want it gone,” and wasn’t too particular about how my new breast would look. I wasn’t even in a frame of mind to want to look at the pictures of successful reconstructions. I remember you telling me that later on I would care what I looked like and that was your job. You and your purple marker worked the magic that you do and every stage was beautiful. Your practice is aptly named because you truly are an ARTISAN.

Fast forward almost four years and I come to you again with a second diagnosis. Thank you for being upset on my behalf. This time required chemo and radiation. Your work held up beautifully.

Cancer has been good to me not only physically, but also for the opportunities it brought along the way. I have met wonderful people along this journey – other patients, their families, survivors, doctors, staff and friends of the cause. Cancer has given me the opportunity to learn to take care of myself, not just others. I have learned that I can be the smile in the room – it is infectious when others are having hard days. Through it all, it helps to look for the positive and find the humor.

In all things give thanks.