Breast cancer is a beast that robs you of part of your body and a portion of your life.

It shakes up your view of the future. It changes your priorities.

But it also shows strength you may not have known you had. It brings a new family of sisters, and it gives you a new appreciation of health and life.

I was diagnosed almost a year ago, had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Chemo was hard, pushing me into a dark, lonely cave. Some days, I was so drained, so fatigued I could not summon the energy to walk to my computer 6 feet away.

I could never imagine feeling good again.

But the dark days are over, like a bad dream. Today I feel great. My husband and I just returned from Europe. Iíve visited old friends I hadnít seen in years.

And I have a group of new friends I met online through breastcancer.org. We were diagnosed about the same time and had the same chemo regimen. We range in age from 30s to 60s and live from California to New Hampshire. We posted every day, to compare side effects and support each other.

In July, we met in Pennsylvania for a reunion weekend. It was a moving event, full of tears and laughter. We will be friends for life.

Life.

I no longer take it for granted. I wake up every morning, thankful for feeling good. Each day is a treasure.

Kay Tucker Addis

Mount Pleasant