CCS dedicated to cancer patients, families

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Editorís note: This is part of an ongoing series about Community Cancer Services to support Leadership Sandpointís ďGot GasĒ fundraiser. For more information please call 208-255-2301 or email jess@communitycancerservices.org.

I am honored to be asked to speak to all of you about Community Cancer Services and how they have helped me and my family.

In June 2008 my husband Brian was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. He was only 40 years old at the time. We had three boys and a very busy life. Our days became filled with doctor appointments and surgeries then onto chemotherapy and side effects.

Up to that point I had always been a person who could handle anything. If I didnít know the answer I would find a book to give it to me. Unfortunately there was no book on how to handle an ill husband with a terminal disease, three young children and a full-time job. Shortly after my husbandís diagnosis I was introduced to CCS and to Bambi. My children and I began counseling sessions with her.

Cancer has a way of turning your life upside down and then taking control of it. My goal was always to try and maintain as normal a life as possible. My husband wanted to continue to work and did so until two weeks before he passed. He wanted to coach his children in soccer and football. He wanted to travel and spend as much time as possible with us. I made it my mission to make this happen.

For my children, the realization that their father was sick was overwhelming. When your children are afraid your instinct is to tell them that it will all be okay. I could never do that. I would not lie to the boys. We always told them the truth throughout Brianís illness. I believed it took some of the fear away if they could always ask us a question and know they were going to get the truth. They were able to have another two-and-a-half years with their father. During that time and since his passing they have received counseling from CCS. It has helped them understand their emotions and become very compassionate young men. Bambi has always made them feel special and has provided them with tools to use whenever they are overwhelmed with sadness from their loss. Whether it was skiing at Schweitzer or just going for an ice cream or even a game of Sorry, Bambi has always found a way to help them step out of their grief and find some joy in life.

It has now been more than two years since my husband passed. My children and I are building a new life together. Bambi has helped us understand that moving on does not mean that we are forgetting Brian. It just means that we are building a new future. I cannot imagine where we would be without Community Cancer Services. They have been a blessing for us in a time of unimaginable loss. CCS is an amazing asset to our community. They provide the assistance that cancer patients and their families need and that are not provided through an oncologist office. Help with hair and makeup, or gas money to get to doctor appointments or financial help for an electric bill when the medical bills get overwhelming. Their support is always there with a hug and a smile. Cancer has a way of teaching you to see your blessings and I have always considered Community Cancer Services to be a blessing in my life.

TANYA WAGGONER

Sandpoint

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