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Gin Schaffer is a former higher education administrator and works part-time at MWHC's Regional Cancer Center as the Coordinator of Integrative Medicine. She lives in downtown Fredericksburg and enjoys walking and biking with her husband and 2 kids (especially if coffee is involved).

Pink Ribbon Journey

I’ve always thought of the start of a new school year as another ceremonial flip of the calendar, a chance to start anew.  This year, I’m pretty sure I’m at the top of the list of parents who are elated that school starts next week.  Our summer of transition has emphasized how the past year was probably the most emotionally exhausting year of our lives.  I look at the calendar and am filled with hope that the start of school will bring some balance and order to our lives. 

It was August, 2013 when I was released from the hospital after a week stay; I had been diagnosed with viral meningitis.  Being alone in a hospital room for that long gives you plenty of time to reevaluate your life.  It seemed time for Steve and me to have more serious conversations about moving back to Virginia from Boston, where we were living at the time, but it felt unattainable, just too hard.  Little did we know, the hard part had barely begun. 

gin-catAs summer turned to fall, our lives started to play out like a bad country music song. First our beloved cat, Buck died soon after I came home from the hospital.  It was pretty heart-breaking to tell my children, who already feared I was going to die, that their cat actually did.  Then, that dreaded phone call came in the middle of the night - my mother-in-law was in the hospital and the prognosis was bleak.  Again, we had to tell our children that someone they loved, their Grammy, had died.  We pretty much went into survival mode through the rest of the year and that was pretty hard for me given I was dealing with joint pain, migraines, fatigue and hormonal surges that made me feel like a beast.  I didn’t want to be around anyone, including myself. 


2014 brought a revived energy to figure out a plan to move to Virginia and work with new specialists on my health issues.  A benign tumor was removed from my right forehead in February and of course, we thought that would help, and it did at first, I felt great.  But, by March, I just knew something was still very wrong.  There were lots of appointments regarding my health and our pending relocation, it’s all a blur now.  However, I will never forget the 5 day period of May 7 through May 11: we sold my mother-in-law’s house, celebrated Anna’s 3rd birthday, sold our house and found out I had breast cancer. 

Here we are, August 2014.  One year after my lonely, meningitis-filled nights in a Boston hospital.  I have more answers now than I did one year ago. I may not like the answers, but at least I’ve got something to work with and that’s a start.  A second chance.  A new beginning.  So, I’m wishing myself a Happy New Year!  A party and a little champagne certainly seem in order.  Cheers!

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Pouches' Community Corner

Adoptive parents in Fredericksburg now have a new partner on their journey to a healthy family. In 2016, Children’s Home Society was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services to extend their Richmond area post-adoptive services to the Fredericksburg area.


Now CHS is looking to find adoptive families in the area who need support before they hit a crisis point. “It doesn’t matter which agency they adopted from, or when that happened,” said Buckheit. “We want to offer a lifetime of support to adoptive families in the Fredericksburg area, especially those who haven’t been aware of our services in the past.”