Dear Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patient

A letter to a reader of my blog in response to her personal email to me. I wish someone had written this letter to me when I was diagnosed in 2015. I felt alone, afraid, and as though things were happening in a time warp. I’d love to have your comments on what you’d add to the letter or what you’d like to have heard when you were first diagnosed.


My friend, hold onto my hand. I have you firmly in my heart and in my thoughts. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reminding me why I keep up this blog. Yet I’m one of many who choose to write for therapeutic reasons and to share my feelings so people who look for help can find it in the form of shared experiences. There’s a group of strong women out here who will make a strong network in which we can support you and hold you. Once the feeling of confusing despair dissipates a little, everything will fall into some random combination of slow, blurry, painful, lonely, disturbing, isolating, uncomfortable, weird, surreal, and a host of emotions no one but you and this club you joined can understand – a club we joined unwittingly to which none of us wanted to belong.

Stage III certainly is a mouthful to say, let alone think about all weekend. Call them if they don’t call you. Be the best self patient advocate you can. There’s no one closer to you than yourself. Keep a pen and notebook with you at all times – next to your phone, your bed, in the car, in your purse. Take notes, write down questions that come up. But try hard not to get too deep in the web of info on the internet. You’ll have a hard time getting rest. No two people have exactly the same cancer as the next. Genetic, environmental, and other causes, but god the one things that didn’t cause it was you. You’ve not done anything to bring this on…

As for the first few months you’ll feel like no one is taking your situation seriously and you’ll push for immediate action although it’s very unlikely anything much will change – either in the progression of your cancer or with the medical treatment you’re receiving. You have a nurse navigator and use the NN to help you as much as he or she are able – questions, answers, appointments, notes from doctors appointments, find out what they can do for you and take full advantage. Monday isn’t too far away, but by then I’m sure you’ll have gone on the internet to see what the dependencies and prognosis look like. If you can at all help trying to dig until you hear from up your oncologist.

A small but very awkward discussion is a second opinion – after your oncologist goes over your pathology with you and initiates a line of treatment protocol, get a second opinion, as I wish I had done earlier in my journey. I did eventually and I’ve changed oncologists twice – I like my team at Stanford a lot and they’ve gotten me through the hardest health challenges.

I know it feels like the world collapsed and there you are standing in the midst of the apocalypse that’s destroyed everything in your past and future and nothing is known, you don’t know who’ll respond of your family if friends, and you cannot understand why yesterday was okay and today is really the farthest thing from okay you can even imagine. Helpless, unwell, sad, frustrated, alone, angry, distressed, full of doubt, overwhelmed by fear, uneducated…

It took almost six weeks from my initial hospitalization and diagnosis as stage IV metastatic breast cancer, HR+ (hormone receptor positive where the cancer feeds on my hormones; more estrogen than progesterone). I will let you read elsewhere if and when you want to in the blog about my initial diagnosis and subsequent treatments, although I bet they want to start you in some form of chemotherapeutic medication while you go through tests, CT scans, PET scans, genetic profiling, and…

It’s going to feel like too much to take in at once, and it is. Get a pen and a sturdy notebook out ASAP. I’m here for you and I can give you as much or as little of my personal experience to guide you. Listen to some podcasts to keep your mind occupied and stay in the know – personal ones like Thanks Cancer – there’s a link on my site – a podcast that two friends wish they’d had when they were going through each of their separate cancer journey. The stuff that’s about to come up in your life will make it seem like a dream. There’s Karin Seiger’s blog and podcasts. She’s an excellent resource of both calm and strength and is a licensed therapist with two breast cancer diagnoses of her own so she knows what it truly feels like, just as Mimi and Leanna the two aforementioned cancer friends.

But you’ll be okay no matter what the outcome. You will find a way to peace with your diagnosis eventually, could be sooner or later but you will. You’ll find parts of yourself you never knew existed, and you’ll grow emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually to heights you never thought you could. And no path is wrong, no steps incorrect because it’s your path and your feet and no one can walk in your shoes. Some women immerse themselves in family, kids, etc., some in exercise and nutrition, some in writing and reading, some in meditative practices, eastern medicine, yoga, Qigong, peer groups at a local cancer center, and a you’ll find your balance using a combination of some, everything, or none at all. Invariably however, you’ll be met with open arms wherever you go.

I read my husband your note with tears and said to him – this is the reason I keep my blog going. I need to focus on writing to her what I wish someone had written to me after my diagnosis. So this is the best that worked for my journey so far. And without going down too many confusing roads, I hope to have given you an asynchronous hug from here in California to your time zone – and I will not let you go it alone if I can help you at all, I will. Stay in touch, even if it’s just a once in a while single sentence because more pressure you don’t need. But, let me know how you are doing. Ask me about things you need a simple pointer towards and if I have answers I will give them, experience I will share it openly, referrals if I know one, and love unconditionally.

I’m not the only one out here. We all love each other in a sister and brotherhood of strength and support. Use Twitter and Facebook. Feel free to check my follows and followers on Twitter especially and there are two online groups – and – I have a listing of some links I’ve used in the blog, too.

Sorry for the delayed response; having not had a good health week culminating in todays fun stage 4 spectacular. And finally, keep your humor because it’ll keep you going in those very dark moments. You’ll have some now and then but laughter’s a medicine that no oncologist prescribes and you can get it over the counter for free. With cancer neither of those adjectives pervade the situation unless you seek them out and find them yourself. But there’s sunshine after the tears subside and remember that even though daylight hides the stars, the starlight is just on this side of night ready to shine even if you have to imagine they’re there.



This was a letter to a reader of my blog, who’s also a virtual friend, in response to her personal email to me. I wish someone had written this letter to me when I was diagnosed in 2015. I felt alone, afraid, and as though things were happening in a time warp. I’d love to have your comments on what you’d add to the letter or what you’d like to have heard when you were first diagnosed.

19 comments on “Dear Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patient”

  1. No patience required. We answer as we can, we’re absent as much as present. It’s all like the weather you’re so right! One day sun, then a rain storm the next, then horizontal snow the next. It’s not that crazy here yet, though I venture to guess we’d take our weather over the losses of Australia any day. In fact the occurrence of cancer is quite high in Australia and I wonder why they’re so close to being destroyed by a string of astronomically proportional disasters of varying degrees. I have had awful fits of tears over photos of the animals damaged by the fires. We cannot put blinders over our eyes but it’s still so very ugly to know these global changes to our planet are of a human genesis. In fact so is most cancer. Only about 5% is passed on from our families. Some can be traced to genetic mutations (distinct from genes from our parents) that are still traced to what exactly? And the rest is “environment.”
    Well, that’s a broad category!

    But it’s not the environment you’re in with the beauty of the snow and the seasons and the chill of winter down upon your country. Small and influential. Unique. I wonder how the cancer support structure is there? Maybe you can look around a bit and let me know. There’s a lot of women alone everywhere and I imagine want to have a real person to find once in a while but there’s not been a need to know the Norwegian cancer support infrastructure and I’m not even familiar with your medical system. But you’re uniquely able to provide it with a little research and a little push to get a little support for yourself too. Of course we all have friends but they all – thank goodness – do not have cancer.

    I’m starting not to feel as well as a year, two, or three ago and my pain is out of control since we moved – I have a hard time doing much the last couple of weeks. I don’t look very well either. My husband isn’t helping much at all. He is running away from the hard stuff as usual. When I die everyone is wondering how he will go on. He will. It’ll take years for him to accept it and he’ll get angry with me for dying on him. I feel guilty for sure but I must not let it get to me. And with that I’ve exhausted myself so for now…
    God natt, min kjaere,

  2. Dear Ilene.
    I am so sorry; there must be something wrong with the settings of my blog. I have to find out why and what to do about it. Because I really want replies and comments from you.
    Your friend from a foreign country is sitting exhausted in Bodo, a little town in the northern part of Norway. My English is a little bit rusty tonight, I am a little bit tired but I really want to give you a reply.
    Week 3 of 2020 has been very busy for me: Blood tests, X-ray, MRI scan and so on. And finally, yesterday I had my BCT surgery with sentinel node. A periode of waiting is over and another one has started. The tumore is out, but now I have to wait for the lymph nodes to be examined. It is all about waiting and I am not good at it. And you were absolutely right about the tumore. It had not changed at all the one month of waiting.

    I was really nervous about the MRI scan. First of all I needed some medicine to ease of my anxiety. I got some oxsazepam from my doctor, so the scanning went actually alright. The next thing I worried about was of course the result. But the tumore was unchanged according to the radiologists, and he could not see any cancer cells in my lymph nodes.

    I was in an outpatient surgery department (I am not sure if this is the right word for it). It is in and out the same day. It was hard for my old colleagues to meet me as a cancer patient. I just felt it, and I saw it, because one anesthetist nurse had tears in her eyes. They had to put me to sleep as quickly as possible. I am a perioperative nurse, so I do understand their feelings. They are afraid too.

    The recovery was my own sofa. I have little pain and manage with paracetamol.

    I have been thinking of you every day. You helped me when I was having massive panic attacks. I am honestly afraid of the death, but as far as I know I could die in a car accident tomorrow. And I am trying as you say, to live here and now.

    How I wish you and I lived a little bit closer <3

    1. Oh I’m as close as you need me to be. The isolation you feel is not by choice but by the word “cancer” and how it invades us and our lives if we let it or sometimes if we have to, is like a house guest we can’t get rid of that sits in the kitchen throwing rotten food and yelling obscenities at passers by. “Fuck off, former colleague nurse. Rist is busy talking to me now.” Then splattering her in the back of the with a two month old tomato you forgot to clean out of the refrigerator. It’s patient, well fed, has no idea how it got here but it’s going to hang onto everything you do, making you as miserable as you allow it.

      Some days I get so angry. Other days I feel gratitude to the point of joyous tears. Yet other times I just talk to myself, hug my cat Simon, listen to music I can sing to, which is unfortunately nearly everything, but lately almost ubiquitous streams of 70s and 80s era classic rock like Queen, Rush, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, Pink Floyd, Cat Stevens, and then specific songs over and over – “Year of the Cat” is one of those I love the way the lines conjure a mood beyond any other commercial song and his writing doesn’t insult our intelligence. “On a morning from a Bogart movie, in a country where they turn back time, she goes strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre contemplating a crime.” Oh! Gorgeous. I love Lou Reed and Lori Anderson, and Paul Simon, and nearly everything by Aimee Mann, obscure maybe I do not know. I love Annie Lenox and the Eurythmics. And I love “Are friends electric,” by Gary Neumann, such an amazingly talented yet sadly depressed human being. I admit to having a huge amount of Elton John especially during his younger years like Yellow Brick Road. There’s other genres I adore but I am in a phase. I suppose it’s familiarity to a certain degree, but I’m comforted by the songs I grew up to from 2nd grade until high school ended abruptly.
      By the time you’ve gotten here you probably wondered a few times why I’m telling you this drivel.

      We are much more than cancer.

      We won’t recognize the person who was diagnosed. It will become harder to find her in the mirror. Old photos will seem to contain a stranger who once knew you. Perhaps we should take time to find out who we really are to give the gifts our true selves only can – the gift of our love. It’s the only thing that matters. So here’s my love to you from California. It’s a clear cool day, I have to run to work on some things right now but I’ll give you the benefit of my experiences where you are now -it takes time to recall and to give you the raw truth – not the candy covered kind.

      And welcome to scanxiety. The anxiety from getting a CT scan, a PET scan, an MRI, a mammogram. No matter which you’ll feel anxious. And I’m super glad you’re a badass nurse – not just any nurse but a really great one. You’ll come through this with not only your life but a perspective you can bring other women and men who will feel just the way you feel right now but for one big difference – they will have you.

      I am sorry I haven’t any Norwegian language skills. In college I worked for a professor of history and Norse mythology who was retired and writing a book on Nationalism. He was a little bit full of himself and one day tried to smooch me! I was 23 and taking dictation and doing so from an educated perspective so he’d not have to explain all the concepts so I could also help edit. His first name was Oskar. One day I got to his house and after his housekeeper brought in tea, Oskar said he really though I was doing a great job then got up and tripped over himself to try to slip me the tongue. He was in his late 70s at the time. On one hand I though hey, good for you for still going at it at your age and then I was also disgusted and that was my last day.

      And with that my dear – please forgive I have to run I’m late and a fiend of mine is worried she has not heard from me in a few days and another friend is visiting later tonight and I swear to you this is a very very unusual day – and of course I had to have a sleepless night!
      Hugs, love, and much gratitude for your note – I’m so glad to hear back from you.

      1. Dear Ilene.

        I hope I one day will be able to listen to my favourite music. I need a lot of noise to disturbe my way of thinking. The television and radio is on , and all the lights in my living room are lit because I can`t stand dark corners. It is worse when I am alone. You are absolutely right, cancer has invaded our lives.

        But yesterday evening I decided to visit a friend of mine, and that really made me feel better. I had a long walk in horizontal rain and heavy wind, but that made me good. Today it is actually snowing horizontally. These contrasts from one day to the other are just describing our lives.

        Take care Ilene. Thank you for your patience <3

  3. I am so scared. They found something suspicious on the ultrasound and they took three biopsies. And I have to wait to january 2. to know what kind of cancer it is. Of course I hope they are wrong, but the radiologist seemed very sure about it. It is a living nightmare and the worst Christmas ever. I am so shaken and got problems to think and write. Thank you for giving me hope💕

    1. Hang in there you’re going to be okay no matter what the diagnosis and the prognosis. You have something all of us wish we had known about when we had our first scan, biopsy, ultrasound…each other. And there’s a lot of us, unfortunately out here. If you don’t mind me recommending Karin Sieger’s site, she’s exceedingly wonderful, she’ll not exude sunshine and roses, but her words if you choose to read, listen, or even interact with her, will give you the psychosocial guidance she’s so well suited for…she’s been diagnosed twice herself besides being a psychoanalyst. And remember I’m here too should you need to just reach out and vent. I’m perplexed as to what’s taking so long and why they chose now to give you such news and tests when people are off for the holidays. Nothing will change very much between now and next week, so be still with that knowledge. And try as best as you can to not read too much into what you will find when you do the inevitable google search. I’m sure it’s dreadful my love., but you do have some power over the situation: as hard as it is you can only focus on now. Not yesterday nor what happens tomorrow. Meanwhile line up your best resources, take notes on everything because our minds make up the very worst stories when we are faced with the fear of the unknown, as I am every day, and I’m truly without BS going to use all my positive vibrational power to give you as much strength as you need to get through this. I pray it’s nothing. But if it’s something, you’re already doing the right thing in reaching out for support. And I’m a believer in better living through chemistry – ask your physician for an anti anxiety med to calm you should you need it. Sleep doesn’t come readily to those of us who worry about something so frighteningly maddening. I hope you give them a call tomorrow before the weekend and ask any questions burning up the night while you can. Write it down – even sentence fragments to remind yourself what you need to ask and I encourage you to be assertive. Don’t take no for an answer. And do bring someone you trust to your appointment on the second to take notes and ask questions too. I hope it’s good news because then you’ll have someone to celebrate with. Pleased keep in touch and write me any time; I’m here and there is also immediate support on Twitter – use it; I, personally am not a facebook fan and Twitter is more real time…there’s always someone on the other side of the screen and it helps to follow someone who has that networking support in place already to find more people that way too.
      Much love,

        1. I do hope so I was thinking a lot about you today. I read your blog last night, so I have a better understanding of your situation. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this; this really sucks. Cancer sucks. It’s an asshole. But it’s unfortunately part of us and if we can come to terms with the acceptance that it is a part of us then we can actually move forward with treatment and actually get as well as possible. I know it’s a very hard thing to do and believe me I’ve been dealing with this for nearly five years…five long years. Knowing it was probably part of me at least two years before diagnosis is even more difficult to accept. But it’s not our fault, it never was our fault, and it never will be our fault. If you look at the statistics wherein one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime and one in between seven and eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer it’s pretty unlikely that we can avoid any of these things because of the environment that we’re living in and the stress loads that were all under, not to mention how the medical industry really takes advantage of our situations. It’s a sad state of affairs but certainly one about which we have to be realistic. And I know realism isn’t something that’s part of the diagnosis – it almost seems surreal. I’ve been there, I’m still there, and I’m here for you. Much love,

          1. Thank you Ilene. After reading your replies over and over again I have become calmer. It may sounds silly, but I completely lost it when my son’s budgie died in the hands of my husband the day before yesterday…. My son is 11 and he is really grieving. He is so afraid for me too. So I must be strong for him and make the days as normal as possible. But that is really hard work…… I will be 50 on December 30. and have decided to celebrate it with some friends and family. But the celebration comes with an unplanned twist…..
            Sadly we have become one of the cancer statistic. And you are right, how can we avoid it? I have listened to Karin Sieger’s podcast. I guess that will be a daily routine.
            I am so happy I have found you. You were there when I needed you. I don’t feel so lonely as I did two days ago ❤💕

            1. You’re certainly not alone. I’m here and I’ll give you my experiences without icing and flowers because that’s not what it’s about. My messy blog is about the messiness of my life, which I purposely chose not to paint pink and sparkly.

              If you reach out to Karin she’ll get back to you as well. She also has tele-consults with patients if you ever need to have a few sessions. I did in person with an MSW in San Jose – I was 49 at diagnosis also, just three months shy of 50 and Craig was in a full blown depression by then, my step sons were both in a terrible psychological mess because their biological mother is a borderline personality disorder/ narcissistic personality disorder sufferer who told them both I didn’t have cancer and they should stress me out to prove it. Sicko.

              But therein lies the problem with our problem. Life goes on around us as we once knew it while our world comes to a complete halt and no one seems to understand or care enough. They say nothing or say really stupid things, they don’t listen to anything we say as important enough as it really is, and the cancer seems to carry all the weight of the flu. Then one by one, like leaves on a tree in autumn they fall away until we are left naked. What I’m saying is budgies will die, pets will get sick. Laundry will need doing, beds will lay waiting for you to make them up, dishes will pile up, take out containers will pile higher than that, trash won’t go to the curb because you’ll forget to remind the person who’s supposed to do it. There’s a great poem by WH Auden, Musee Des Beaux Arts, which isn’t so much about great masterpieces of art; it’s really speaking to how the most fantastically unbelievable things happen in the background, yet what’s really in the foreground are the mundane tasks and chores. In the background very small in a painting by Bruegel in which a tiny little Icarus way in the background of the painting, hardly noticeable, who’d just melted his wax wings by flying too close to the sun. He hurtles to crash land into the sea while in the foreground is a horse and it’s a driver and a little boy and so on completing their Monday and tasks as the horse scratches his ass on the tree. It’s those things in the foreground those Monday and things that people are so worried about so paying attention to. They hardly notice the fantastical things that happen that are so life-changing like cancer, like terminal illness, like the horrible things that are happening to our environment. They’re so busy with the silly things the things that don’t matter very much that they don’t notice. And I find that unfortunately I feed to the back room upstairs and what my problems areDon’t seem very important in the grand scheme of things to anyone, except me. In fact I was in the bathroom and Craig flippantly says – cats gone?!? It’s at least the 10th time he’s let the cat outside, the one thing in the world that keeps me from going to pieces sometimes and I react; not in a good way because he’s also said I’m not sick as I say I am. He’s tired of me being sick I’m sure. Sometimes I think he must he trying to get rid of me but he wouldn’t survive without me. I worry about that but what strikes me as odd is his reactions to the things I need and what he sees as important.

              Gratitude and forgiveness are as difficult as hope at times. I dig deep and find a way to soften and say something we must at times which is “I’m sorry.” And mean it. I screamed I hate you for letting the one living thing out to potentially become lunch fit for a wolf or coyote.

              Oh and the next podcast I highly recommend, from another two women who have become friends, is “Thanks, Cancer!” – it’s a little chatty and they curse a bit but not to the point anyone would mind. It’s a podcast they wish they’d had when they were going through their cancer treatments. I wish I’d had it when I was first diagnosed too.

              1. You are absolutely right. My world has halted, but the life around me goes around like before. My perspective has changed but the world around me continue on the same track.
                My youngest son got ADHD and Tourettes syndrome. The psychiatrist and psychologist are now testing him for Asperger, because he is very rigid. It is hard to change routines without any discussions and opportunistic behavior. He becomes anxious and depressed, and think he is the reason for every problems that turn up in our family. That is probably my biggest concern….

                I am looking forward to the next podcast with cursing. I have done that a lot this Christmas……

            2. Hi – I tried several times to respond to your blog post on your site with no success. Having read your beautiful post and the support of you reminded me of my goal of beginning this labor of love born from pain -to reach out, albeit blindly, into the ether, hoping to find another hand to grab onto and walk towards the light. With each other we can feel less isolated and more understood. Our language changes – even our verb tenses change from future tense (I’m planning to go to Hawaii next year) to present tense (My bones ache.) I’ve said on many occasions, if someone doesn’t understand what you mean or how you feel you don’t want them to understand either since that would mean the tension that builds until the next scan results or the fear of the unknown (as in our unknown mortality.) True, no one knows exactly when they’ll die. But they also likely don’t know from what either. We know we our time is going to be cut short though not how short and we know what will rob us of our time.

              It really sucks that meeting people I truly like and grow to care a great deal about happened to spring up in such circumstances. But it doesn’t much matter as many things I thought mattered don’t either. What matters is right now and in our moment of interaction I’m so truly grateful to find new friends and hear the voices of someone else who says – thank you for understanding me. I’m sorry that the reason had to be cancer, but strange times call for unusual solutions. And I’m very happy you stumbled on my writing.

              Please tell me how you’re doing and keep in touch. I do tend to worry if I don’t hear someone’s voice in one way or another. Even if it’s a Tweet, a blog, a one sentence hello.

              Your holiday this year will seem far away by next year. So much water under the bridge will make the time as you recall it feel so incredibly busy but I know I couldn’t have possibly done that much! By next New Years the realization that promises you make to yourself and for the most part even to others, can only span this very minute and no farther into the future. So my dear friend in another country, remember you’re far from alone here. And any time you need to find a hand to hang onto in the dark ether mine will be outstretched for you. It is not a one way comfort either, as I too feel better knowing one more person cares about me, too.

              Thank you from my heart for your praise and your beautiful blog post. I cannot tell you that praise doesn’t matter. It does! I’ve no trouble admitting this now whereas before my diagnosis I would’ve said I don’t care. But I secretly did. Now I can relax and be honest with myself. Saying thank you and showing my gratitude feels far better than holding in my insecurities and making a body feel stressors that lay the cortisol groundwork contributing to my diagnosis. But maybe not and my last little bit of insight is never blame yourself for cancer.

              You’ve not failed in any way, in fact, you owe no one any apologies except to stay as well as you can. But do not even forgive yourself. You don’t deserve it. You did nothing to deserve it. And even if you spend nights awake adding up the number of times you did a drug or had too many drinks, it’s never going to add up to why or to cancer being any fault of your own.

              No one knows why. And no one can cure us yet either. But it’s about time we saw more progress in the former and the latter.


  4. Dear Ilene,
    Thank you for being You … kind, generous with your time and sharing your personal cancer journey with others. You continue to help me navigate through my metastatic cancer journey (began March 2016) through your writings.

    I think of your often. Sending caring thoughts.

    1. update:
      I wish more people understood …
      – You did nothing wrong.
      – You are not alone.

      Ilene, Thank you!

    2. Leisl,
      It’s my obligation to share my experiences – and as long as I can write, I will. The gift is mine because your feedback as I’ve shared with you before generates creative flow and lifts me beyond any self criticism that may have kept me from publishing prior to cancer. Isn’t it ironic that it takes time to write and the career I once put all my time into didn’t allow for my creative endeavors. Yet it took all of me to improve the lives of women who came after I did in my profession in technology. I suppose it’s the same kind of drive, yet with a higher reward that leads me to risk my self worth. In that vein it’s what pushes me to strive to write as much of the emotional component that goes with metastatic disease as I can. Knowing it helps you to know you’re not alone and helps you in your journey is reward enough. And this is tough stuff to reread as I edit. Sometimes I cannot even bring myself back to a piece to edit because of the emotional component of personal experiences. That’s where the poetry takes over for the essay. It’s easier for me to edit metaphor than actualities.

      I hope you’re doing as well as possible and please let me know how you are. We are finally getting into the house by Friday of this week coming up. Meanwhile I finally got my appointment with one of the preeminent integrative oncologists in the world at UCSF and there’s nothing I look forward to other than getting settled into our new house more than that. I hope we can keep my husbands head above the depression line in all this change. It’s helped me stay well and it will not be good for me if he slips away again, not after so much joy.

      Sigh. One step forward. Hopefully not two back.

      Much love and I am so glad to hear from you!

    1. Thank you Abigail. I really appreciate your enthusiastic compliment.

      While reading through past comments over for a longer post to be published next week. stumbled onto this one and thought it could benefit a wider audience than one. It was actually helpful for me to reread.

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