Linda Choser — A positive outcome from a negative outlook


In an effort to add a more positive outlook to her life in light of her cancer diagnosis, Linda Choser of Middletown sought spirituality at the First Church of Christ. Choser is now cancer-free and parlayed that experience into studying to become an ordained minister. 

Like most people, cancer changed Linda Choser’s life in ways she never could have imagined.

But in her case it was for the better.

Through a combination of her positive attitude, spirituality and treatment at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Center at MidState Medical Center in Meriden, she is now cancer free.

“The staff at MidState Medical Center saved my life,” the 57-year-old Middletown resident said.

Her improbable journey began in 2014, when she began experiencing symptoms but did not go to see a doctor. In fact, being in tip-top shape she hadn’t been to a doctor in nearly a decade.

When the symptoms became unbearable, she went to an emergency clinic and was later diagnosed with cancer. A friend and former nurse recommended Linda seek care at MidState. Although it was a longer drive compared to other hospitals, Linda soon came to realize it was well worth the trip.

It was there that she met oncologist Dr. Gerard Fumo. He presented her with her options, but since the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes, the odds weren’t particularly good.

She decided against surgery, instead opting for a rigorous regimen of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the golf-ball size tumor. She also made a decision that would ultimately turn her life around.

“I embraced my cancer with love, and decided to learn from it,” she said, adding that she wasn’t a fan of all the catchphrases that included “fighting” or “battling” cancer.

They knew how much it hurt and they were as gentle and kind as they could be."

–Linda Choser

Her learning moments included the realization that she had a lot of resentment inside her, that she should have a more positive attitude and that she needed a different kind of spirituality in her life.

She found that spirituality at the First Church of Christ, a congregational church in Middletown. Unlike her more strict religious upbringing, the church accepted the fact that she was gay and it also had a vibe about it that made her feel loved, accepted and at home. After a couple of visits she began volunteering as a deacon and with the youth group, and she is now attending seminary school to become an ordained minister.

Linda is now cancer-free. She gives a great deal of credit to the staff at the MidState cancer center for her recovery and newfound life, which includes spending time with her two boys in Missouri and her mother locally, working at a local supermarket, house-sitting, pet-sitting, gardening and photography.

She said the MidState team “has given her life back” and she is determined to tell her story to others to help them overcome hard times in their lives.

“They were very caring, very empathetic and understanding,” Linda said of the doctors, nurses and support staff at MidState. “They knew how much it hurt and they were as gentle and kind as they could be. It was a very positive experience. I actually enjoy going back for my checkups — they are wonderful people and I feel like family. When I go back I try to see everyone. I can only imagine how many people they see that don’t make it, and I want them to see someone who did. It’s my way of saying ‘thank you.’”

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