Meet Marliese Tullis

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And now, a few words from Marliese Tullis

Twelve years ago, I was 61, had a job that I loved, and felt great. I never expected the devastating blow of a laryngeal cancer diagnosis.

It felt like my surgery changed everything. While I recovered quickly and was discharged from the hospital long before anyone expected (only three days!), I could no longer return to work. As a result, I fell into depression. My depression got so dark that for a time I considered ending my own life.

With the help of my daughter, I came to realize that my depression was not due to my laryngectomy but that I had lost my sense of purpose. Determined to find purpose and what my new life was to look like, I put my belongings in storage and went off to seek adventure. For months I traveled and lived like a gypsy. I traveled to visit my son, stayed with friends, and went to Germany for three months to see friends and family members.

When my adventures were over, I settled happily in an apartment near my daughter in Scottsdale, Arizona. From my new apartment, I started building my new life. It can be difficult to communicate with people, but it has not been a hindrance. I have found that people are very patient and understanding when I am communicating. I have met so many wonderful people. I even began a small dog walking business in my new apartment complex. Today, I feel great, I'm not depressed, and will not let this laryngectomy get me down! I wouldn't have chosen this life for myself but I was not given more than I can bear.

I am proud of the life I have made and would encourage others to be strong, put it behind you, and move forward. There is much life to live for!

Marliese Tullis and her furry friends