What Cancer Means To Me

Disclaimer: This is a long and sappy post, but completely necessary..

This weekend was a difficult one for me and my family. Early Sunday morning I woke up to the news that my aunt Jacki had passed away late Saturday night. I thought that I was somewhat prepared for the news...but how are you really ever prepared to lose a loved one?

My aunt Jacki had been fighting a very aggressive type of cancer since the beginning of this past summer. I will never forget the phone call saying that she was at the James Cancer Center for testing. My initial reaction was "oh man, not this again.." but I knew I needed to be there for her. for my uncle. I wouldn't just not give them my support even though everytime I walked in to a hospital my heart would sink and I instantly wanted to walk right back out. I knew what I had to do the first time I visited her that night, and my decision was to do anything and everything I could to support her and my uncle, because if anyone knew how hard it is to fight cancer - it was me.

If you are reading this and don't know me, on June 2nd, 2001 my mom passed away from breast cancer. She was diagnosed when I was 3 (1988, roughly) so cancer was pretty much a part of my everyday life growing up. I know now looking back, what cancer means to me. For a while, I was really lost - angry, confused, etc. thinking "why me? why MY mom?" and to be honest, there are still days I feel that way. But I feel content now, knowing that everything happens for a reason (my mom's favorite saying) and I have learned so much from my mom that I may have never learned if it wasn't for cancer. I learned how important it is to live everyday like it's your last..I learned how to express my feelings and come to terms with the disease..I learned to wear your heart on your sleeve and ALWAYS tell your loved ones what they mean to you while you have the chance. I learned so much about the disease in general and I learned how much I want to help others who are suffering. This is where I learned to suck it up and actually help, instead of feeling sorry for myself.

Ever since that initial day at the hospital with my aunt... I attended most of her hospital appointments, helped my uncle keep track of her medicines, spoke with the nurses and doctors, and sat in on all of the major meetings they had with my uncle. There were days I was so restless at work all I wanted to do was get to the hospital to be with them. Luckily, being that my Dad is my boss, he would let me spend many of my workdays at the hospital. I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that I was so involved and that my uncle leaned on me and could see how much I wanted to help. I know I got this from my mom.  I know how appreciative my aunt and uncle are that I did this and even though everyday it brought back painful memories of my mom - I wouldn't have done it any other way. I loved every minute I spent with them. A hospital setting? No, not the most ideal places to spend quality time with your family, but it was Jacki's sense of humor and positive outlook on life that made it worth while. She was always so positive, kind, gentle, and funny. We had so many good days filled with laughter...I will never forget her calling Billy "the bombdiggity" for simply getting her a drink, and us bonding about how much we love eating dessert first before our meal because life is too short to wait until after! Those are the times that are priceless to me. I pray my uncle "D" knows how strong of a man he is, and how much I watched him grow over this whole process. I am so proud of him.

Tonight I sit here still wishing she were here...but have comfort in that fact that I know she is in a better place and is at peace. I know that she is with my mom, and my aunt Carol who also passed away from breast cancer, and they are having one heck of a party up there together.  I already miss her terribly but am so thankful I had these past 6 months to spend with her.

Now, you may wonder where the URL address for my blog came from... "lovenotesinabox" Well, what the HECK does that mean?! The year before my mom passed away, she made me a box with the title "Love Notes for Katie" and inside it's filled with notecards that on each one she wrote things "she loved about me" that were over a year of time. The most amazing gift I have ever received (along with the 3 journals she wrote to me) and just goes to show what an AMAZING person my mom was. So this blog...are my love notes to her. My type of journal for her to read because I know she is looking down on me.  Tonight, Billy and I went through my box of love notes and read each and every one. I picked my top 2 favorites to share with you...

"I love you more than you can even imagine. I love you "more than blueberry pancakes". I prayed for you tonight. I know that God will direct us. I love that you are my daughter - my Katie doo!"

"I love your: sensitivity. I love that you go after someone if they are upset or hurt. I love it when you are sensitive to anothers feelings"

These simple words that my mom wrote one day are all I need to keep pushing forward and to keep me on the right path. For those of you reading on this Monday night... try to stop sulking about Monday mornings at work and appreciate that you are still alive and get to live another Monday - because you never know when it may be your last (I, too, need to work on this). EMBRACE them - for you get a whole new week to make amazing memories with your friends and family.

Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers this weekend. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life to support me. RIP Aunt Jacki, you will never be forgotten.


"Katie Doo"


  1. Honey. My heart hurts on so many levels for you, for your family. I'm glad that you went with your Aunt on that journey and I know exactly how hard it must have been. Thank you for sharing your story about your mama too. I'm so glad to have found you!

    Many prayers for all of you.

  2. Thank you Jess! I'm so glad your following me and I found your blog! :)

  3. Katie, I came across your blog today and will definitely be a new follower. You seems like a sweet, down to earth, sincere heat warming girl. Sounds like you are living a very happy life :) My heart breaks for you with the loss of your mother. Im sure she is looking down upon you everyday. The things she did and left behind for you is a wonderful thing! Im sure she is your angel watching over you. XOXO

  4. Since I didn't start following you until a few months ago, I had never seen this post! That is one of the sweetest things that I have ever heard. Written words can be such a comfort, especially when you can hear the other person saying it in your head. That is so special - I'm so glad that you have those!

  5. This really touched my heart. You have been thru some HARD STUFF and came out even stronger.

    That's why I follow you and will continue following along your blog/life journey.

    You're pretty great.


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