breast cancer awareness

Life, full of joy

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 10/7/20

FRENCH WOODS, NY — Ask Lori Silvers about her breast cancer experience, and she talks about joy.

Not that the experience—both experiences—were joyful. They weren’t; she …

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breast cancer awareness

Life, full of joy

Posted

FRENCH WOODS, NY — Ask Lori Silvers about her breast cancer experience, and she talks about joy.

Not that the experience—both experiences—were joyful. They weren’t; she calls the recovery “a rough road.”

But the happiness and gratitude are lucky side effects, and she’s embraced them.

Silvers, a jewelry designer (as Lori Rae Handcrafted Jewelry and Original Collections) who now lives in French Woods, was first diagnosed at 42 when she lived in Long Beach, NY. “The first mammogram of my life,” she says wryly. The tumor was small and slow-growing. After the surgery and radiation, her oncologist ordered an MRI every two years, and three years ago, that caught a second primary tumor. “This little dot of nothing, a one-millimeter dot.”

“I was like, ‘What? I’m leaving for the Caribbean.’”

She dealt with it, though. “I was going to handle this business of my body now.”

But that story, compelling as it is, is not exactly what Silvers wants to talk about. “I don’t feel bad, I feel good,” she said. “I’m back and dancing. I’m doing life.”

Life consists of farmers’ markets, where she sells her jewelry. Bethel Woods’ harvest festivals—she’s in all of them. Going to Rafter’s and singing along. Dancing. “I’m careful,” she assures me. And there are naps to keep her energy up. Care with her food choices, like getting rid of sugar.

Life is the animals who hang out near her house in the woods. The bear who peered in her door.

“I’m so happy in my sanctuary in the country.”

Life is the many friends, the Rotary, the connections she’s formed. “I love these people!” Her past in Sullivan County, her family’s stays at the famous hotels. “I learned to figure skate at the Pines,” she remembers. Her move here in 2005.

“You can use [cancer] as a gift,” Silvers says. “Slow down, de-stress...you can find joy in the beauty of the mountains.”

Now she raises funds for individuals with cancer, rather than donate to one of the large causes. It’s always hard to tell how much is going to overhead, and how much to actually help people. “You can put the money through a local club like Rotary,” she said. (See box for more of Lori’s ideas)

All of this matters. “You’re here now,” Lori Silvers says. “What will you do with this time?”

What can you do?

If you’re the patient:

  • “Early detection is practically a cure. It was for me,” said Silvers. “Get your mammograms and your sonograms. They can handle it. Don’t wait.”
  • Make your appointment. “Don’t be afraid. Go with a friend if you’re scared.”
  • Take control of what you’re eating.
  • Don’t be hard on yourself.
  • Don’t live in a bubble.
  • Choose to be around joy, even in the worst circumstances.

If you’re a friend or family member

  • Raise funds for the people around you
  • Help with driving. Take a patient to appointments.
  • Pay for housecleaning
  • Be an advocate.
  • Pull together a network from the community, churches or synagogues. They’ll step up and help pay for things.
  • Start a small fund for sick people in your community.

“They’re all part of being kind,” Lori Silvers said.

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