|Marie-Jo Cario, 53: Nine-Year Breast Cancer Survivor|
What I learned: Never take life for granted
"There's never a good time to learn you have breast cancer, but nine years ago, I couldn't have imagined a worse one. As the manager of a bustling French chocolate shop in New York City, I was working a 12-hour shift six days a week. I took only short breaks during 10 rounds of chemotherapy and was back on the job two weeks after my mastectomy.
"Then one day, after collapsing at the shop from exhaustion, I received a wake-up call from my doctor: If I didn't stop overdoing it and start taking care of myself, he said, I might not survive breast cancer. Two months later, I resigned and started enjoying life again. I visited my parents in France, toured colleges with my twin daughters, and started practicing yoga. After a year, I returned to work, taking a low-stress, 9-to-5 position. My husband also found a new job with better hours so we could spend more time together. We've had so much fun traveling to other cities, hiking in Colorado, and swimming at our local pool.
"Cancer not only put a spark in my marriage, it helped me realize what's really important. These days, I'd rather spend time having dinner with family and friends than obsessing over a little dust on the furniture."