I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 1992, at the age of 37. My life changed that day, in ways that I wouldn't fully understand until many years later.
I was living in Miami at the time, a city I had lived in during my teenage years. I have many friend there and thought it would be nice to live and work there for a year before returning to California, where I am originally from. I took a job with the Department of Transportation and moved to a house in an area called Cutler Ridge in January of 1992.
On the weekends I saw all of the people that I had known since I was twelve years old and first living in south Florida. We would go to the beach and spend time catching up after all those years. Although I had regularly visited I had not spent much time in Miami since I had returned to California in 1974.
On August 17, 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck Miami. The house I was renting was torn apart and I spent six hours in a closet with my little dog and my insurance policy. When I was finally able to come out of the closet my world had forever changed. I lost everything, except for my life. I thanked God every minute for sparing me after such an ordeal.
I was ready to return to California when I became quite ill. After seeing three different doctors I was told that I had breast cancer and would have to undergo a radical mastectomy. I was finally able to return to California in time for Thanksgiving, but the doctors were sure that I would not see Christmas. Again I asked God to spare my life. I told Him that I had important work to do for Him, and promised to spend the rest of my life making Him proud.
Here I am, 14 years, 6 months, and 8 days later. I have kept my promise. I have also kept a positive attitude. I believe that my outlook on life is what keeps me going. I do have important work to do and I remember that each and every day. Each moment is a gift from God and I don't forget that. Gratitude is another part of each of my days. My most important letter of gratitude was one I wrote to my first oncologist last year. I thanked him for what he had done to save my life and told him a little about how I live my life. I hope and believe that God is proud of me.
Connie Ragen Green is a motivational speaker and writer living in southern California. Visit her at http://www.ReinventYourLifeWithPassion.com/