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 cornucopia to ALL!
 
Recently our local newspaper had a "write-in" to allow people to tell what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving. I wrote in that I was thankful for my family and my health (I was diagnosed earlier this year with Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Brest Cancer.
I've since been through Surgery, Chemotherapy treatments and Radiation treatments). They picked my family to write about in this morning's paper -- FRONT page! :-) Below is the article and pics. And, a "Letter of Thanks" that Kristin (my DD) wrote to the paper.
 
It's so easy to let life slip by when we are involved in our day to day happenings...I always try to remember what truly is important everyday...but, especially on Thanksgiving!
 

Amid great struggles, family grows in gratitude
By Nicole Strittmater · Journal staff • November 25, 2010

Linda Landowski of Custer is thankful today for her husband and two daughters. She's thankful for the
love she receives from her three young grandchildren and friends, and for another year of life.

But it also would be easy for this 50-year-old to dwell on the negative today. In March, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and ever since, it has been a vicious cycle of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and "unbearable pain." Her cancer is triple negative, meaning it's more aggressive, harder to treat and can spread easily.

To top it off, her husband lost his job this year, after almost 25 years of work with Steel King Industries in Stevens Point, losing their insurance. Her daughter Kristin, 30, also is unemployed. Both of the family's cars are broken, the pipes in her house burst, and there's no money to fix any of it. They can't afford medications, so she's living without.

"Every day, something is breaking down and going wrong. There's bills we can't afford. It's depressing," Linda said. "I looked forward to turning 50, and then 11 days later, 30 years of marriage. Here I am. I'm walking dead."

Landowski is finished with treatments and is hopeful for the future, but until she's been cancer-free for
five years, there's a lot of uncertainty. She started chemotherapy in April to shrink the growing lump. It shrunk, but at a high price. "I lost feelings to my hands, arms, feet, toes. I live in unbearable pain. I was on one of the most aggressive chemo's there is," she said. "I can't open doors, hold things. I can't tell if my bath water is hot. I can walk, but it really hurts."

Her doctors told her she might never regain her strength and feeling. Every 30 minutes to an hour, she gets chemo hot flashes that feel like someone is stabbing her with needles from head to toe.

Through all this, Linda Landowski maintains a loving spirit and a hopeful attitude. She and her
husband plan to spend Thanksgiving with family if she's well enough. She said she's also thankful
today for the friendships she made with staff members at Aspirus in Wausau and Ministry Saint
Michael's Hospital in Stevens Point.

"It's been a challenging year because we're all going through quite a bit with everybody losing their jobs and the economy being what it is," Kristin said. "(The family) thinks that I have the most strength, and so I had to try to keep them happy and smiling and joking as much as I could. It's just been a
struggle trying to find the energy and courage to just keep going."

Before her mother was diagnosed, Kristin's worst problem was losing her dream job at Art Village
when it closed. But the self-pity vanished as soon as she heard about the cancer, and the entire family
started fighting for Linda's life.

Linda said her daughter is her "biggest warrior." She drove her to treatments, arranged a team to walk in the Susan G. Komen walk and made pottery bowls to  be sold at Gallery Q, 1108 Main St., to raise money for cancer research.http://www.qartists.com/index.html

Kristin said today will be a good one "with my mom's prognosis being positive and moving in the right direction." She said the family learned what love really means and how grateful they are to have
each other.

http://www.stevenspointjournal.com/article/20101125/SPJ0101/11250654/Amid-struggles-family-grows-in-gratitude

 

Linda Landowski of Custer dances Tuesday with her grandson Michael Cisewski at her daughter’s home in Stevens Point. Linda has been battling breast cancer since March of this year and is thankful for her family. (Laura Schmitt/Stevens Point Journal)

Linda Landowski sits with her husband, Gary, and daughters from left, Sherri Cisewski and Kristin Landowski, and her three grandchildren, Lillian, Lucas and Michael Cisewski. (Laura Schmitt/Stevens Point Journal)

My DD Kristin's Letter of Thanks

I am grateful to have my family and the love and support that make our great unit. Earlier this year, my mother was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and it has been the most challenging year for our family. I thought it couldn’t get much worse after losing my dream job at the end of February of this year until I heard just days later that my mom has breast cancer. The self-pity and grief dissipated and the fight for my mother and our family matriarch started. Many times in our lives, we are faced with challenges that seem so large but only after an ordeal like this has happened did I truly realize what the word challenge really means. I found that I had to dig deep within myself for the strength; support and courage that was needed to help my family and keep them happy, smiling in the face of such struggles. As a whole, we have rediscovered what it means to love, to experience life and what really matters in life. We are grateful to have each other in the time that we do, the now. We have so much to be thankful and grateful for that a moment doesn’t go by without thinking of each other and the love we have and strength as a family. I am grateful to have my mom, with me, fighting against cancer so that we may enjoy the love and strength that comes with a fantastic family that we are lucky to have. I look forward to more memories being made amongst us and to share those stories again, with all of us present to laugh and enjoy them.  Kristin Landowski

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Comments:

Lb128f
Nov. 25, 2010 at 1:57 PM

What a beautiful story of "thanks!" I'm sorry you all have had such a rough year! You are right about giving thanks and family...having people in our lives who care about us and who stand by us is so important! I hope you will begin to heal now and that the coming year will be much better for you all. Thanks for sharing this!

cornucopia

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Lb128f
Nov. 25, 2010 at 1:58 PM

BTW: Great pics! Beautiful family!

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Moms_...
Nov. 25, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Linda as always you have my love & support what a BEAUTIFUL story. I am glad that I have had the chance to get to know you and your family and hopefully that dream of meeting in person will become a reality this next summer.

Your family has much strength to hold together as a family unit. I am so very proud of what you have accomplished on this journey making you a stronger person to the end if these treatments.May you continue to have strength to get you to where you need to be and remember I love you very much!

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angel...
Nov. 25, 2010 at 2:39 PM

What a great article Linda and it highlights what really is important in life and that is the love of a family and the pulling together in a time of crisis. It's so true that hardship and struggle strengthens the bond and make one realize to appreciate each other so much more. What used to be important seems trivial and one's priorities shift after experiencing something like this. I'm so sorry for your suffering and having to go through this and I pray that you will heal and recover fully.  From now on may the journey bring much better days. Sending many positive thoughts and hugs your way xox

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Stickmom
Nov. 25, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Sending you well wishes. Hoping you had a Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing this with us!

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Mylov...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Thank you so much for sharing this Linda, such a wonderful story of what's really important in life...I am blessed by you, and the gratitude you and your family have found is AMAZING!

Sending my love, prayers, and to be honest, I want to grow up to be just like you!

May God bless you and your family this coming year, bringing you His VERY best blessings...keep on hangin' in there, and know you are LOVED.

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james...
Dec. 5, 2010 at 10:50 PM

What a beautiful article and pictures and as always, Kristin shows herself to be thoughtful and mature beyond her years. Happy Holidays to your and yours Linda!

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Lovin...
Aug. 6, 2011 at 5:41 PM

I'll never forget reading this. What a wonderful family and out look you have. I wish you nothig but the best!

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