by Karen Coney Coplin
When I moved to Naples in 1994, it was exactly half a lifetime ago! To think I’ve seen so many changes in the past 27 1/2 years, and yet, have friends and peers born here or who moved here as children. The whole town has grown up and transformed around them and their families, and continues todo so.
My “silver anniversary” in Naples was April, 2019. While I didn’t have any grand plans to commemorate this passage of time, I thought I might look back at some of the changes I’ve witnessed and write about them here to mark the occasion.
Those plans had to be altered, as I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, 2019. Suddenly, my agenda for the Spring shifted dramatically that year. (Not unlike the effect Spring, 2020 had for all of us, as were treated to our homes amid the developing pandemic.)
I consider myself an optimistic and positive person. Hearing the word ‘cancer’ vs. the far more preferable 6-letter word, ‘benign,’ contributed to a layer of anxiety, coupled with such a vast many unknowns, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This includes many times when I’ve learned of a loved one’s diagnosis.
The good news is that a lot of research has been devoted toward cancers in general and breast cancer in particular. There are well established and emerging treatments. With caring family, friends and medical professionals by my side, I was able to carve out a plan which included different surgeries and radiation.
One dear friend gave me a weighted blanket, purchased locally, that was so comforting, particularly when I would sneak in a posttreatment nap. My pets are fond of this blanket too! (I offer the suggestion of weighted blankets to all when I learn of others with unforeseen health diagnoses – admittedly, not all like the feeling these blankets impart. It worked well for me.)
Since this magazine issue includes October, and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I thought it timely to share my story, and celebrate, belatedly, the anniversary of my move to Naples.
Naturally, I’m thrilled to add two more years to that roster with many more ahead. And, perhaps, use this column to offer a gentle reminder to practice regular self-exams and keep any recommended or routine health screening checks on your calendar.
Health is the real wealth, and gratitude is essential. I am abundantly thankful to call Naples my home. To all of you that offer helpful and sincere comments, a smile or a hug, I hear you and appreciate that connection.
Email Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future articles, especially about charitable organizations and ongoing or new programs. Follow her on Instagram @naplesythenumbers for more local color and flavor.