I moved to Florida 13 years ago after I graduated college. I lived in Boynton Beach, two miles from the beach in Delray, and then Boca Raton with my husband when we found out I was pregnant. We thought it was a family town with good school districts for the future. For years, since I have lived here I never truly felt as if any of these towns were my “home.” I would always get the question from my New York pals, “How do you like Florida” and my response would always immediately be, “I love the weather and the beach, but it will never be my home as my people are in NY.”
Well, cancer, you did it again! You have opened my eyes to the fact that here, in my new home city of Boca Raton, I have been lucky enough to really see how many amazing and wonderful people are! I have never been prouder to say that Boca Raton is my home and the town my children will grow up in.
After my diagnosis, my reaction was immediately I have to go to New York, everyone’s is. Well, after extensive research and several appointments later with Dr. Moncreif and the Modality team at the Lynn Cancer Institute, which is part of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital, I felt more than comfortable and in amazing hands, right here in Boca Raton. See cancer, you have quickly opened my eyes to what is right here in my backyard. Yes, New York has some of the best doctors, but so does Boca Raton. If you would see the outcome of my surgery, you would be in total shock on the unbelievable results after a double mastectomy.
Besides finding the right place to take care of this diagnosis, Cancer, you have quickly solidified what I have never felt about my kids growing up here. I have now experienced what an amazing place my kids preschool is. When we took a tour of Zale at the JCC in Boca Raton with the Director my daughter was 18 months old. As a working parent, I left that day and felt that this is where my child will get the most love and education next to their parents. We decided that whatever we needed to do financially our kids would be going to this school.
When it came time to tell the Zale staff about my diagnosis, I felt it was going to be the hardest part. Now I’m bringing my children into what was happening. Quickly after I became more open about my diagnosis and discussing it with several staff members, I heard from what felt like the entire Zale community. The outpouring love and support from the staff and parents has been tremendous. Not knowing parents on a personal level, I never thought to discuss this personally. I have heard from other parents that have also went through the breast cancer journey or a different journey of cancer and it has brought me so much comfort to know I am not alone. What my husband and I quickly learned is that this school is more than just another preschool. IT IS FAMILY and BOCA RATON you have quickly proved to us that we are proud to live here and have our children part of this community.
Once again, Cancer, I am finding the light in you as much as I hate you. Thank you for opening my eyes to the true beauty around me and my family. Boca Raton is where I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the city that forever changed me in ways that I am learning are truly indescribable. Yes, I am too young to have Cancer, no one at any age should have cancer, but what everyone is never too young to learn is how to find the beauty in the exact spot you are in right now.
A New Yorker at heart and future cancer slayer