Rebuilding after the fire

sunflowers at Notre Dame web
Sunflowers (symbol of sarcoma cancer) at Notre Dame, many facing north toward the cathedral instead of south toward the sun.

Do you feel like Notre Dame Cathedral, gutted by the fires of cancer treatments? Do you feel like a husk now, burned, weakened, and emptied?

That’s how I felt after my debulking surgery that took nine hours, followed by two years of harsh chemotherapy infusions. Those drugs burned through me and left me devastated and vulnerable.

Yet all was not lost for me, and neither is it for the cathedral. Now when I see pictures of the church’s interior, the altar and cross are still standing as if nothing had happened. The heart of the church is still intact.

My heart, my will to live, was still intact after two years of treatment. I did everything I could to survive, just as the firefighters did everything they could to salvage what they could of Our Lady of Paris.

Now this massive monument is at its most vulnerable and most in need. And so are we while dealing with cancer. Yet people are coming forward to rebuild her, as people came forward to help me rebuild my life, giving generously from their hearts and their time. I hope you are blessed with the same support. To turn down assistance is a disservice to ourselves and others, just as it would be a disservice to Notre Dame to not rebuild her.

Let her stand as a symbol of hope for you—that after the phoenix fire has burned its destructive path, we can rebuild and restore, perhaps winding up even healthier and better. This is my wish for you.

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