While I carry many prayer flags, all-important for numerous reasons, it is the flag for my sister, Kristin Gustafson Hanzal that will take this place of honor.

Kristin was the baby of our family of seven children. In 1991 Kristin had a recurrence of malignant melanoma that metastasized into her lungs and brain. She died before her 36th birthday, leaving behind a husband and two small boys, not to mention me and everyone else who loved her. At the time I thought of cancer as evil. As I grieved her loss integrating the loss into who I was and how I experienced life, my opinion changed slowly but surely.

Kristin’s cancer journey was the beginning of my transformation. In 2003, I was diagnosed with malignant fibrous histocytoma, the most common for of soft tissue sarcoma. Since my diagnosis, I believe cancer to be a very powerful and proficient teacher with the potential for profound transformation.

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