by Kristiane Cooper
Wow, how the years fly. I have been going to Crossroads for about 12 years. Jill Hughes, my next door neighbor introduced me to Crossroads, and a few years later I was lucky enough to be invited to join a circle - all woman. This circle and the women in it have become a wonderful part of my life.
Over the years we have all shared various life experiences and have been there to support each other through the highs and the lows. We also get together outside of Crossroads for dinners, wine tastings, Cracker Barrel breakfasts, among assorted other occasions. We all really care for each other and support each other and our circle is definitely one of my greatest blessings.
My circle supported me through a tough but miraculous life experience a couple years ago. Literally the week after my father died, my mom was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Although my mom was more tired than usual, she had no idea she was ill. She was told she had a few weeks and at best a few months to live. Everything moved quickly at that point and chemotherapy wasn't working. She signed up for hospice. I actually moved to Ann Arbor for four months to help care for my mom as well as to allow my mom to stay in her home. My kids were both teenagers and fortunately my husband wasn't traveling a lot at the time, so it worked out well to help my mom.
During this time, I leaned heavily on my circle. They stayed in touch with me and constantly sent me notes of encouragement. I can tell you that there were times when I just felt desperate to communicate with them to share the latest happenings. During my months in Michigan the most amazing thing happened, we found a clinical trial and my mom left hospice. The clinical trial was tough and involved weekly trips to Chicago, but my mom started to show improvement and the unhealthy cell blasts that had taken over 98% or her bone marrow disappeared as a result of the clinical trial drug. My mom is alive today with no signs of leukemia.
I treasure my circle friends and am very grateful to have them as part of my life.