My father is now a long-term survivor who has completely defied the conventional wisdom about his disease. He has survived for seven years: seven years living with a disease whose five-year survival rate for the most favorable patient class is a dismal 14 percent.
In the past, my tendency had been to seek external guidance when making pivotal decisions. But watching Valerie at work must have activated my inner resolve because, for the first time, I felt absolutely no need to reach outside myself for answers.
I had no idea what I wanted to do or be, and in many ways his passing felt like I was starting from scratch... like I had to relearn how to have Thanksgiving dinner or shop for Christmas gifts, blow out my birthday candles -- would I even want birthday candles again?