An anniversary is a celebration of a happy, joyous occasion, but it can also be a happy, joyous occasion to remember an unhappy day. The day we were diagnosed with cancer, like 9/11, will always be burned into our memory. We remember all the details. It is a day we are not likely to forget. Well, I am happy to say that I just celebrated the 5 year anniversary of the day I was told, “You have cancer.” I celebrated by going down to the local imaging facility and ordered me a 3-D mammogram.
The 5 year mark is one we as cancer survivors strive to reach. It’s all about statistics and recurrence rates, blah, blah, blah. But, it is also a time to look back and reflect on our lives with cancer. I hear over and over again from our Crew Members just how much cancer has changed their lives for the better. We all have our own stories, but a common theme has emerged in my experience over the last 3 1/2 years working with the Chemo Crew, and that is one of no regrets. Now don’t get me wrong, no one wants to hear the words, “You have cancer”, but what you do with that diagnosis is what they do not have regrets about. In fact, some are thankful for their cancer because of how it has caused them to reevaluate, reprioritize, and renew their lives. We have heard stories of mid life career changes, reconciled family relationships, starting over, being grateful, and the list of positive changes goes on and on. It is really an encouraging thing to hear. In the midst of heartache, physical turmoil, and the uncertainty of the future, we can find peace and contentment.
“I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions not on our circumstances.” -Martha Washington
How has cancer changed you?