A cancerversary moment happened for me this past weekend. Those who have had cancer ‘celebrate’ their milestones in different ways. Everyday can be a milestone and my perspective is to be thankful for each day.
It’s been two years since my second breast cancer diagnosis (2014) where I elected to have surgery and chemo based on the tumor type. The first cancer diagnosis (shock!) was in 2006 and had a lumpectomy and radiation. That seems so long ago. The chemo reminder came when these two photos popped up on my iPhone TimeHop app:
You know what is really ironic? I ran into my oncologist the next day on Sunday (yesterday) at a local Marietta restaurant at lunchtime. He was with his wife and one of his sons, we chatted for a few minutes. I joked that I’m very happy to not have to see him anymore and he responded with ditto!
This cancerversary milestone allowed me to reflect on what has changed and what is the same over the past two years.
What has changed:
- Wrote and published my first book, RealThings: 6 Ways to Embrace Life. The cancer scare was a reminder that life is very short. I’ve always wanted to write a book. No more excuses! I am working on my second book now.
- Participated in Seth Godin’s inaugural altMBA one-month session last summer (another ‘versary for me). Seth is a marketing blogger, an author (17 best-sellers), and entrepreneur. I met some wonderful people through him – with varied backgrounds – we still keep in contact and challenge each other.
- Now I’m a contributor writer for Huffington Post. I sent an article idea to the Lifestyle editor last July and they responded within two hours telling me “this is the type of stuff we’re looking for.” I had nothing to lose and it became a win for me.
- Blog for Sharecare.com too. Sharecare is based in Atlanta and was founded by Dr. Oz, Oprah and Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD). Check out my Media page for other sites.
- Have had several radio and podcast interviews about my book. The latest was the Donna Seebo show where the focus is about personal empowerment. My interview is episode #581 and can be downloaded on iTunes now. (And yes, my name is mispelled.)
- Obtained my International Health Coach Certification. Focusing on being healthy and helping others is the main point now. (Our pantry and cabinets are a lot cleaner too.)
- Others have encouraged me to speak about my experiences. I have done a few corporate wellness talks with a focus on stress management and nutrition. Recently joined a local Toastmaster group as a safe place to practice my speeches. Now I have a leadership role at Toastmaster. That was unexpected.
What is the same:
- Thankful to have the loving support from my family and friends, most notably my husband.
- Take time to walk daily outside (rain or shine), preferably in the woods with my dogs.
- Watch the sunset on a regular basis – because sunsets are limited.
- Continue to try and be a role model for others based on my lifestyle choices. Each person you can impact in a positive way is a win.
- Our dogs are entwined with our every day life. Part of my recovery from the multiple surgeries and chemo treatment included my 2 dogs. Deke the adopted Labrador wouldn’t leave my side (still doesn’t). Bebe the Great Pyrenees gave me a bop with her nose to my face daily (her way of kissing), sniffed the area where I had surgery, then would bop me again with her nose as if to confirm “Mom, you’re going to be okay.” Dogs are amazing and help with the healing process.
I have never really questioned death or had any fear of missing out on anything in life or the future. Until the cancer diagnosis. Twice. Everyday is special. Keep looking forward, live life.
If you or a loved one had cancer, do you have a cancerversary?