Special Reports

Pam Kallsen: People and memories are more precious now

Pam Kallsen enjoys life more today. When she goes to a concert, she splurges on the best seats.

Cancer changed her.

First she was scared, then she got mad.

"I was just angry that cancer had invaded my body," Kallsen said.

"I'm a good person. I do good things. ... I don't smoke and don't drink to excess."

Kallsen's treatment lasted nearly eight long months -- surgery, then three months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and three more months of chemotherapy.

She lost much of her hair but missed only two days of work while undergoing treatment. At the time, she was vice president of executive services at Community Medical Centers.

Cancer taught her who her true friends are and what matters.

One of her biggest supporters was her husband, Gene, who cried with her in the bathroom when her hair fell out.

She realized her own strength.

"Now when I encounter difficult things in my life, I think, 'I fought breast cancer.' "

People and memories matter more today, Kallsen said.

"The memory sharing is more important than the memory of gifts," she said.

"Life is very precious and fragile."