I remember not being able to control my emotions and completely losing it in front of my sweet boys and husband the second I hung up the phone. Lastly, I remember the calls I made to my parents, sister and brother, who were all out of town, and listening to the shock in their voices as they discovered their daughter and sister would have to fight cancer. I cried a lot that day...more than I had ever cried in my adult life! It's a day I would love to forget, but, I can't, because it changed my life forever. It also changed the lives of those in my family forever. Some of these changes have been hard to accept but many of the changes have been gifts, and that is what I hold onto and celebrate.
While I was crying one year ago, I am jumping up for joy and celebrating today!! I am FINALLY feeling pretty good and, so far, all tests I've had show no evidence of cancer. My biggest tests are coming up in March but I'm optimistic!! Cancer has taught me many things and the aftermath of cancer and the treatment to keep it away continues to challenge me. I will never let it get the best of me, though, because I am a fighter. I AM A SURVIVOR!
My talented friend, Lara Kiniris, who has an amazing company called The Calligraphy Girl, made the cancer ribbon at the top of this post in honor of my one year survivor anniversary. The ribbon contains words that describe my journey with thyroid cancer over this past year. Some of these words include: Faith, Hope, Love, Fight, Live, Breathe, Kick Cancer's Butt, Support, Livestrong, Overcome, Stand Up 2 Cancer, Struggle, Radioactive, Isolation, Family, I Am Blessed, and Survivor, among many other words. I feel so lucky to have this beautiful ribbon because it will remind me of the journey I've had with cancer and how blessed I am to live each day of my life....a true gift!
Some people might think it is strange to celebrate the anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer. For me, however, it is not a celebration of a diagnosis but rather a celebration of life. I am celebrating making it through a tough journey. I am celebrating feeling good. I am celebrating a new appreciation for my family, friends and my health. I am celebrating being a SURVIVOR!!
"The Free Dictionary" defines "survivor" as follows: "to carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere. To live, persist." I prefer my personal definition of "survivor" which is: "A person who has looked cancer in the eye, has kicked it's butt with the love and support of family and friends, and has learned to enjoy every second, minute, and day of her life to the fullest!!" You are looking at one happy woman who is ready to celebrate many more years of being a survivor! Happy One Year Cancer Survivor Anniversary to Me:-)