If you live in a remote village of Africa, the sound might have been a bit muted.  But if you live anywhere within a 1,000 mile radius around Basel, Switzerland, you most certainly heard the over-the-top celebrating that happened at about 11:30 on Wednesday morning.  I had entered the “klinik” 20 minutes earlier for my final radiation appointment, carrying with me five long-stemmed roses for my nurses and a plate of cinnamon rolls for my doctor.  The sweetest of the nurses, when I emerged from the changing room with the gifts, smiled and asked, “What are we going to do from now on without our daily sunshine?”  Sunshine?  I’ve been called worse…!    All things considered, I pretty much breezed through radiation and that, my friends, is an answer to your communal prayers.  Thank you!

I love this view of Basel at night…  Photo taken yesterday.

Thus ended this phase of my Cancer Adventure.  This could have been a devastating journey, but it hasn’t been.  Challenging?  Yes.  Painful, jarring and disorienting?  Yes.  But the road was paved with kindness, smoothed by answered prayer and redirected by Divine Design.  The trauma was softened by faith and sublimated by gratitude. What might have been the worst months of my life were instead the most galvanizing months of my forty years of existence.  I have learned, I have grown, and I hope that I have changed—deepened in compassion and broadened in spiritual understanding.  My most fervent prayer today, as I contemplate the “new normal” of life after cancer, is that I will continue to seek, explore and lean on the One whose love redeems our pain.

After Wednesday’s big “Finale,” my friend Mari Ellen and I celebrated in a decidedly un-nutritionally-sound fashion!  It started with a quick stop at “Paul’s,” my favorite French bakery.

It continued a few minutes later with a stop at another of my favorite dining establishments, this one a little more familiar to US readers!  (By the way, if your name is Michelle Young and you live in Maugenhardt, please avert your eyes from the following photos!)

The next day was…hectic.  After morning meetings, I took 11 singers to France, where we performed at the Christmas party of a large physical rehab center whose director is my friend, Fabienne.  And since I was still in a celebratory mood, my carload of singers made a fairly predicatable stop on the way home…

Here’s some international perspective:  buying one portion of fries and one drink for five students in Europe costs over 27 euros.  That’s $38!!  You’ve got to be rich to celebrate over here! 
But it made them all…happy.


I got home from France and immediately got back into my car to head to Basel (Switzerland) with Mari Ellen.  I felt an urgent need to focus my mind on something joyous like Christmas, now that my daily trips to radiation were behind me.  It was a beautiful night in this quaint and hospitable city, and I clicked away until I had a few good shots to show for it…  Here they are.  (Note the Wurst [sausage]-toting angel!  Only in Switzerland…)


Switzerland is known for its time pieces.  This one is beautiful…and large! 

I love Basel’s bridges…

…and its giant Chritmas trees...

Alcoves like this one are everywhere.
This angel is holding up a bottle of wine.  Go figure.

The church by night…

Christmas is near–I really felt it for the first time as I walked the streets of Basel, wrapped in the glow of lights and the smell of chestnuts in the air.  I know that this will be a very special holiday for me, a time of reliving this past year and counting my blessings as I look to the future.  I’m grateful for all I’ve discovered and learned as I’ve endured the inevitable consequences of living in a world where disease happens.  And I’m grateful to you for the prayers that have carried me.  Thank you–from the bottom of my radiated and celebrating heart.



  1. Yay! You’re done with radiation! I do hope that you have a wonderful Christmas break and that it is filled with joy and celebration! I hope to see you soon!

  2. yay! i am whooping for you over here on my piece of land…just to make sure it was heard all over North America too. i was thinking that i hope that you recieve more HAPPY mail this year rather then the mail that you recieved last year that sent you on this course…although i’m glad that something was said so that your body was saved from the infection…and you guys could get it head on. so glad to see you celebrate…especially at a French Patisserie. (yum!)

  3. the photos turned out great!! fun to share all that celebrating with you.

    Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of creation..
    Oh my soul praise Him for He is our HEALTH and salvation.
    Here’s to a healthy year ahead!!

  4. Congratulations on passing through the next step in your journey!! Please give our greeting to your wonderful singers. Would love to have helped you celebrate, sing with your singers, and eat “unhealthy” food. We miss your part of the world but really enjoy the pictures you put on your blog. Thanks for helping us remember such important people and years of our lives!

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