Cancer Journey

Impromptu Adventures in Survivorship

By Judy Gunderson

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In April of 2013, I had to go to Arizona for a meeting, so I took my two sons, Tommy, 23, and Stephen, 21, along with me for the company. My husband had used vacation days to go with me to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois, for a checkup in March so he couldn’t join us.

I had planned to make it a short trip with sightseeing in Tucson, Arizona, before heading back home. However, as we drove along, my plans went out the window and the trip became “impromptu”!

We first went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I had been there before but the boys had not. The expressions of joy and awe on their faces were priceless and something I will never forget.

At one point I went off to an area by myself. As I stood there, tears streamed down my cheeks as I thanked God for giving me the extra time and health to be there with my sons. In June 2007, I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Yet, I was standing there, taking in the majestic beauty that God created. I felt so blessed!

On the way home, the boys wheedled me into stopping in Las Vegas – another first for them. After that, they begged to go to Utah where they were born, but left at ages four and two. So we drove up to Smithfield, Utah , saw where we used to live and enjoyed visiting with friends we had not seen in more than 20 years.

While we enjoyed this extended trip immensely, my husband was relieved for us to get back home from our adventures on the road!


No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results.



  • Thank you so much for featuring my story!

    My absolute favorite part – after surviving 7 years in stage 4 metastatic breast cancer is what you added at the end of the story….
    No case is typical. You should not expect to experience these results.
    God is good!

    • CancerFightersThrive

      Judy, thank you for sharing your story! We often hear that patients and caregivers are most inspired by those who have been through a similar journey. Certainly, you’ve inspired us and we hope your story inspires others, too!

    • Barbara Boyd

      Thank you Judy.

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  • Just wanted to say how EXCITED and BLESSED I am. Today marks exactly NINE years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer! Thankful to my team at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL for all they do for me so that I can beat the statistics of being in stage 4 of metastatic breast cancer!