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“During that Four-Day Deployment, I Wasn’t a Cancer Patient”

July 5, 2016. My doctor told me I had breast cancer. I could not even begin to comprehend the words that catapulted me into this nightmare. How could this be? I was only 43. In recent years, I had weathered the storms of a stroke, emergency back surgery, and knee reconstruction. I was finally beginning to feel “normal again,” to breath, to live. Now I was in the grips of another storm.

The pain seemed insurmountable. I was in an emotional free fall with little will to fight. The barrage of scans, blood test, and visits with the oncologist and breast surgeons seemed too much to bear.

However, in the midst of my storm, a ray of light broke through the dark clouds. My Team Rubicon family let me know I was not alone.  From flowers and a care package to calls and text, they let me know they were there for me. Even through a year of recuperation from multiple surgeries and treatments when I could not participate in events, they understood and let me know I was in their thoughts.

In January, I finally had thought the storm has passed. However, I would find other abnormalities that needed to be biopsied. Three times in the last nine months I would endure the frightful finding, the surgical biopsy and the agonizing wait to see if the storm of cancer had returned.  

The most recent biopsy occurred only six days before a Team Rubicon Deployment for Operation Smashing Pumpkin to aid those impacted by a tornado in Conway, Massachusetts. I debated whether to participate as I knew I would receive the results only two days before the deployment. In the end however, I realized if the cancer had returned, the doctors’ visits and scans could wait a couple of days. I needed TR and the support of my friends.

During the four-day deployment, I wasn’t a cancer patient. I didn’t have trouble sleeping, I didn’t have trouble getting out of bed, I didn’t even think about cancer. I felt alive again.

While this most recent biopsy results were clean, I do not know what the future will hold. What I do know is that no matter what comes my way, I am not alone; I have people willing to fight for me and that makes all the difference in the world. Thank you TR!

Miriam is an Emmy-winning features producer for ESPN where she has done extensive work on stories relating to the military and veterans community. She has served on the Board of Directors of a non-profit that protects and preserves land for recreational use. Miriam currently serves as Connecticut's State Membership Coordinator for Team Rubicon. While some months it seems Miriam resides in the airport, her home is in Farmington, CT.