Being diagnosed with breast cancer was like falling down a deep dark hole; there were times I didn't think I'd reach the bottom. When I finally did, the love, prayers, gifts, and good vibes that were sent my way created a strong, sturdy ladder that gave me the ability to climb out.
I am blessed to have such a supportive sister, Caryl Mousseaux, who went down that hole and pushed me up the ladder. I am appreciative of my fantastic brother, Bill Tessman, and sis-in-law, Landi Sones-Tessman, who had weekly play-dates with our boys.
Words cannot properly express how grateful I am to Mom and Dad (Charon and Bill Tessman) for being there for us so completely and selflessly throughout my whole journey.
My ladder of support had many steps including my wonderful relatives, neighbors, and friends who gave so many gifts of meals, books, fruit baskets, flowers, and chocolate. Thanks to my girlfriends Kelly Sanches, Jennifer Hernandez, and Kelley Mayer who always made sure I had plenty of Laugh Therapy. I am lucky to have the support of my dear friend, Nicki McCracken, who sat by my side for so many hours in the chemo room. And thanks to my "secret admirer" who sent me anonymous notes and gifts. (I still don't know who you are.)
My outstanding medical care givers at Methodist's Park Nicollet Cancer Center gave me the confidence and comfort I needed to carry on.
Thanks to Kate Bailey & Elli Rader for asking me to be a part of Of Scars, everyone at Hope Chest for Breast Cancer and Patterson Dental (especially Jennifer Hannon) for sharing my story, and Barbara Porwit for including me in her Breast Cancer Superheroes portrait series. Special thanks to The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis for honoring Louis and Maxwell, naming them Young Heroes, recognizing how they faced their mama's breast cancer with the courage only a true-to-life hero has.
I have deep appreciation for Jessica Bailey who offered her artistic talents so generously and for Rosemary Weller and Nicki McCracken for sharing their excellent editing and design skills. I am grateful to my wonderfully helpful neighbor and friend, Nancy Powell, who believes in the importance of my book.
This journey is a road well traveled. Thanks to my Breast Friends for being the Warriors they are: Judy Erdahl, Jan Graziani, Pat Willenbring, Grace Folkerds, Jackie Thompson, Deanna Thompson, Kathy Arnold, Georgina Graper Moore, Mari Sikkink, Diane Erickson, Terri Joski-Lang, Molly Maher, Kevyn Burger, Colleen Liz Donley, Aasne Daniels, Virginia LeBlanc, Katrina Haas Dohm, Kathy Knoblauch, Sarah Brown, Jill Gause, Julie Maanum, Janet Neau, Alexia Glassco, Marti Swanson, and Karen Ege.
Special praise to my Semi-Colon Warrior Brothers Mark Shirmacher and Scott Barton-Smith and my Grandma Ethel Tessman, Auntie Lois Bader, and Auntie Alice Jane Moat, who have braved the fight so heroically.
Special thanks to Louis and Maxwell's dad for giving me a tiara on my 40th birthday.
The heroic guts and glitz my sons, Louis and Maxwell, displayed during this journey is profoundly inspiring. For that, I thank them with everything I've got.
~ My Sound Track ~
Songs of Strength and Support
"With A Little Help From My Friends"
"Three Little Birds"
"Don't Stop Believin"
"Closer To Fine"
"You've Got A Friend"
"I Won't Back Down"
"You Can Always Come To Me"
"Every Long Journey"
The Okee Dokee Brothers
"Kind & Generous"