Today I celebrated my 7 year cancer anniversary! It was June 10, 2013 when I had a 6-1/2 hour surgery to hopefully remove all of the cancer in my body. My attitude was upbeat and positive. I was big on using humor to cope with the seriousness and enormity of my diagnosis. In fact, the day after my surgery, I gave my oncologist a stuffed pillow shaped like a uterus and told him I still had one even though he thought he removed it!
I thought I would sail through the surgery and treatment and get on with my life and put my cancer in the past. Well, as many survivors and thrivers know, the Big C doesn't usually operate in a straight line. I discovered I had Lynch Syndrome, an inherited genetic syndrome that predisposes me to about 7 different types of cancer. I was not going to be sailing away with my happy life and my cancer far behind me. Instead, I have had to deal with semi annual and annual testing that will continue for the rest of my life. At first, this was very tough to accept. I felt that I would never be free of my cancer...ever. Every time I go in for a test, I hold my breath and I don't really exhale until I know that once again, everything is ok.
In the first few years, I experienced a lot more anxiety about reoccurrence than I do now. Don't get me wrong, I still have it, but I have found that as times goes on, the intensity is less. 7 years later, I am living and thriving. I wasn't at all certain of that when I began this journey. I am grateful. I am also humbled by all of the stories of the clients I work with on a regular basis. Grace and grit- There is no way to get through without it. Here's to all of us- the survivors who travel the path of cancer. It's not a path we chose, but it has made us who we are.