I have often mused how “cancer is all around us.” Most everyone has been touched by cancer. Believe it or not, I feel like that isn’t always such a bad thing.

Cancer can make you stronger. If you are open to it, cancer can help you grow.

Cancer survivors share a special bond. And again–if you are open to it–you may find yourself drawn and connected to other survivors like yourself.

Take this afternoon, for example. While out holiday shopping with Pattie on a holiday visit home to see my parents, I met the most remarkable couple in a modest, yet magical art gallery in Rockford, Illinois.

The gallery’s owners, Bob and Debra, are both artists themselves. Named Cholke dCapri, their space is an eclectic mix of Debra’s art and Bob’s portrait photography.

My conversation started innocently enough with Debra. We talked briefly about her work–a combo of color and texture. I then asked her about how her business is doing. “We never know what to expect.” she responded. “Great sometimes–then nothing.”

The gallery was divided into a number of different spaces. Lots of light and color, contrasted by black backgrounds and indirect lighting. As I worked my way back to the front of the gallery, Debra introduced me to Bob. A commercial photographer, Bob also takes some amazing artistic shots.

I had mentioned I was a medical writer. Bob asked me to explain–and the fact Pattie and I were cancer survivors soon came-up.

Both Debra and Bob were welcoming and open. But I felt a real connection with Bob right from the start. I should have known why.

“I also had cancer.” Bob mentioned. I guessed prostate cancer. “No, testicular cancer.” he said quietly. “I had it when I was forty.” he added. I’m guessing that was a number of years ago.

Bob and Debra then asked about my cancer. “It’s a bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma.” I answered. “Pattie is a survivor too–cervical, uterine and ovarian cancer.”

We shared our experiences for a few more minutes.  I would have loved to visit longer, but Pattie had already left to get a table for us at an Italian Deli next door.  As I prepared to leave, Bob shared that “Getting cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me!” 

I’m glad Pattie wasn’t there to hear that.  She doesn’t agree.  She hates what cancer has done to our lives–and I don’t blame her.  But I agree with Bob.  I left with this thought:  “I agree with that–except it is an easy thing for those of us who are doing well to say.”  I continued:  “If I still believe that when I am in hospice someday… Well, that will be the real test, won’t it!”

Bob nodded, Debra tilted her head and shared a concerned smile–and out the door I slipped to join my lovely wife for our mid-day meal.

A special moment–and connection–between new friends who share a special bond through cancer.

If I were technically skilled enouth, I would feature pictures of Bob and Debra’s work here.  But for me, this is easier…  Here is a link to The Cholke dCapri Website.  No surprise it is beautifully designed and features stunning visuals and examples of their work.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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