Lois Green, 79, is facing her fourth bout with cancer. She received her latest diagnosis — terminal — Aug. 20, 2007.
“I wake up everyday with a smile on my face,” Green says. “I make the most of each day.”
In December, Green, with the aid of Laura Smith Porter, completed a book called “The Last Chapter.” It is the story of her life, including her past and present struggles with cancer.
“I wanted to leave something for my four children and nine grandchildren,” Green says.
In 1975, Green was stricken with uterine cancer. She beat it.
“I decided I would do something,” Green says. “I was a graduate of Bryn Mawr, so I returned to school at Clark University, in Worcester, Mass., where we lived and got my master’s in public administration.”
In 2001, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her husband, Bob, died of lung cancer in 2001. Her daughter, Sarah, had breast cancer in 2001. In 2005, Green was again diagnosed with breast cancer.
And in 2007, the cancer had metastasized with tumors in her lungs.
Throughout her life, Green has had one basic philosophy: “Always have something to do.”
Included in her “something to do” is working at the University of Massachusetts medical school and teaching interns how to communicate with the elderly.
For years, Green, who has been a snowbird on Longboat Key for several years, served as executive director of the Elder Home Care Services of Worcester.
“Since Aug. 20, 2007, I have been busier than ever,” Green says. “I have lots of social engagements with friends and attended the theater, the opera and the symphony. I have spoken to several groups about end-of-life issues and have mentored those who have asked for my advice. I continue to participate in the organizations that matter most to me.”
One of her friends, Peter Levine, gave her his thoughts on challenges.
• Focus your energies by moving forward.
• Take chance and accept the possibility you may fail.
• Find a purpose for doing something and focus on it.
• Enjoy each and every day to the fullest.
• Above all, keep a sense of humor.
And she certainly has kept a sense of humor. Asked by a doctor which chemotherapy treatment she wanted, she said, “One that will let me have glass of wine.”
Green says her adversities have only made her stronger.
“I have always thought my job was to teach people how to live,” Green said. “Now, I think it is to teach people how to die.”
Contact Dora Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org
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