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Living with Gratitude

The Hardin Family moved to Castle Pines Village in July 2014.  The kindness and generosity of the community have surrounded the Hardins with love as they learned of Michele’s recent cancer diagnosis.  Michele and David pose with their children Kate, Luke, and Matthew.

By Amanda Merriman; photo courtesy of Amy Caroline Photography

For Michele Hardin, living life with an upbeat attitude comes naturally.  Throughout her life she has found the positive side in every negative situation.  Michele believes every day is a gift.  This way of living was put to the ultimate test when she discovered she had stage three rectal cancer.

Michele and her husband David moved from Portland, Oregon to Castle Pines Village (CPV) with their three children (Matthew, Luke, and Kate) in July 2014.  Here in Colorado, David enjoys a better work-life balance working as a doctor in the Denver area, the children are involved in various activities, and Michele keeps the family running smoothly while also volunteering in the parent-teacher organization at the children’s school.  But as time passed, Michele noticed something was amiss in her body.

Michele had not yet established care with a family doctor.  When she tried to schedule an appointment, the doctor she chose was booked out for months.  At that point, Michele became her own advocate and asked for a referral to a gastroenterologist (GI doctor).  The GI doctor recommended Michele have a colonoscopy, a common screening test for abnormalities in the colon.  The results were shocking: a large tumor was discovered in her colon.  The tumor was removed just two weeks later, leaving Michele with a new diagnosis of stage three rectal cancer.  The tumor was completely removed but Michele still needed 12 rounds of chemotherapy to ensure there are no cancer cells remaining in her body.  In moments like this it would be understandable for a person to fall apart.

Michele is far more resilient, though.  She admits her diagnosis was scary, but is matter of fact about it.  She finds strength in being a mother because “a parent innately finds the positive side” of things.  She noted, “Cancer doesn’t have to be a horrible thing.”  She is thankful she is the one with cancer, instead of her children or husband.  She is thankful for discovering this diagnosis early and for the way things have fallen into place like a “perfectly played puzzle”.  She is thankful for her exceptional medical care and for how David arranged for friends from Oregon to come keep Michele company during her chemotherapy sessions. She is grateful for the many ways Castle Pines has supported their family: neighbors have filled her freezer, arranged rides, and Boy Scout Troop 356 raked more than a dozen bags of leaves from the Hardin’s yard.

Michele looks forward to when her treatment is finished.  In the meantime she believes in being your own health advocate, living life in a positive way, and in the power of our wonderful Castle Pines community.



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