Thank God for small town living.

Subject: Thank God for small town living.
From: Joanna Soden
Date: 9 Jul 2017

For months I have been struggling with how I can possibly thank everyone without leaving someone out. There is so much to say and so many of you to thank. Last October I was diagnosed with 2b cervical cancer. This was found on a routine check up and I did not have any symptoms that the doctors felt that would have been suspicious of cancer. Once we had a treatment plan the battle began.
I will never be able to thank all of you enough. The support from my loving family, friends, co-workers, community, and even strangers was overwhelming to say the least. One of the biggest lessons cancer taught me was to accept the help. This was a huge task for me because up until this point I was one who was always jumping in to help others. Some complain about living in a small community. I get it, everyone knows everything about everyone else, or at least they think they do. I on the other hand have experienced the other side, the side where everyone rallies behind you.
My treatment consisted of traveling to Dunmore 5 days a week for radiation along with chemotherapy 1 time a week for 5 weeks, followed with 5 doses of brachytherapy(internal radiation) once a week for the following 5 weeks. This all could not be achieved without all of you and my faith in God.
First of all my family is my rock, making sure I got to my appointments safely and always there to hold my hand when I needed it most. My friends who all rallied around to make sure we were fed and that if my kids needed to be somewhere that they got there. My co-workers who all chipped in and bought gas cards so we didn’t have to worry about the cost getting back and forth to my appointments. They also donated sick days. Let me tell you something else, from the cafeteria, custodians, support staff, teachers and administration ,I couldn’t work with more caring people. Keep in mind that these are the people who have contact with your children and mine alike for 180 days a year. They teach so much more than the standards they are required to teach. The teach compassion and how to care for one another. The community, I don’t even know where to begin. There were so many people who gave their time, money, and services.Maybe you were one of those who helped, maybe you remembered me in your prayers, maybe you just smiled at me when you saw me out in public. Sometimes the littlest of things goes a very long way.
I will never be able to thank all of the people who helped. I challenge you to look for the good in people and in this community instead of looking at the bad. If you look around we truly do live in a great place. We so often lose focus on the big picture. I have been humbled and I am truly grateful for all of you and this community. I am happy to say that my treatment worked and there is no evidence of the cancer anymore. I will continue with surveillance appointments every 3 months for the next 2 years. Thank you all for what you have done for me and what you have taught me.

With love and gratitude,
Joanna Soden

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