For those of us with cancer, it initially hits us as a jolt out of nowhere, and quickly becomes an adventure, with unpredictable twists, turns, highs and lows. It’s as if we’re on a train going somewhere driven by someone else. There are many of us on the cancer adventure train. It was a complete surprise to find ourselves on that train and a continuing mystery as to why we are there, where the train is going and where are the stops. You probably know at least one of us. We may be a member of your family, a friend, an acquain-tance, or someone you never met, but see at various places around town. Cancer is an alien, but curiously, one of the few things that truly meets the intention of our Bill of Rights; it doesn’t discriminate about our eth-nicity, gender, age, religious beliefs or anything.

One of the things that we notice early on, after board-ing the train, is a deeper connection with those who know of our situation. Greetings are true compassion, and not the usual light comments. Relationships with our family and friends also move deeper, and the feeling of love becomes more palpable. We get lots of advice and connect with people whom we would never have known otherwise.

I’ve gained a new circle of friends at Ojai Cares, a no-charge, cancer support and resource center in Ojai, that is directed by Susan and Renee, with help from many others. Susan and Renee are both on the train with me. We all want bright days, and being on the cancer ad-venture train has helped cut through some of the mun-dane and reach that deeper compassion and love that is our true nature. For that we are thankful.