The letters and cards started arriving in August.

“Dear Sandra: You don’t know me but…”

“I am a long time viewer…”

“We were touched by your breast cancer story…”

For five months I have collected them, propping them up on my desk like colorful affirmations.

Sometimes, huddled right beside my metal mailbox in the hallway of The Broadcast Center, I would open an envelope and blink away the tears:

“You are an amazing strong woman! Because of you, I have scheduled my first mammogram.”

Others made me giggle:

“I know you are looking breast cancer right in the face and giving it the finger!”

Like prescriptions for positive thinking, they arrived from all over Southern California, from Las Vegas, West Virginia,  Australia. 283 cards. I saved every one.

But now, those cards are a bit dusty and beginning to look “so 2011.”

A few weeks ago, a guest joined us on KCAL 9 News at Noon. Tracy is a clutter expert.

“It’s time to purge!” she laments. “Time to clear out the clutter.”  She is sharing advice with our viewers, but I hear her.

Later that afternoon, I remove all 283 cards from my desk.

They are precious reminders of my cancer fight. But, cancer makes me feel like I have two lives: the “before cancer” and the “after cancer.” And so far I’m embracing this “after cancer.” It’s like going from an old black and white television to “high def.” The important stuff just looks brighter, more colorful, living life in focus!

My doctors have done their part to clear out the clutter of rogue cells. Surgery, followed by seven weeks of radiation. “There’s every reason to believe the cancer is gone,” my oncologist tells me.

Now it is up to me. At the advise of my nutritionist I’m avoiding processed foods, breads and sugars. (Not sure how I’ll get through Girl Scout cookie time without sneaking a Thin Mint!)  I’m exercising more and feeling strong.

And in my desk drawer at work, I have a secret. 283 cards, which I will read every year on the anniversary of my diagnosis.


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