Today is kind of a big day for me. It is my 3 year cancerversary for the triple negative breast cancer diagnosis. The recurrence rate drops sharply after 3 years, so…woohoo for me!!! I will breathe even easier after the 5 year mark where recurrence rarely happens, but I gotta take my wins where I can. Today, I celebrate.
I celebrate being alive, making it through the trauma, the rollercoaster of emotions, and the physical rebuilding. This is not to say that any of those things are over. My body is still recovering and the thought of recurrence is still scary. Not only that but I am still grieving the life I thought I was going to have. The fear and grief will wash over me from time to time but the episodes are less frequent and the waves less overwhelming.
Cancerversaries are milestones that I feel should be celebrated. It took finding my inner warrior to win this battle and I have scars and PTSD to show for it. My body will never be the same. I had parts of my body cut off and fought as hard as I could with every weapon I could think of. I survived and I feel we cancer warriors need to be acknowledging and even celebrating the survivor milestones.
There’s a pull to sweep it all into the past. Move on! To not let the cancer define us–it was an event not to be thought of again. I respect that and agree to a degree. For me though, my cancer battles changed me deeply. I got a radical shift in perspective. What was important in life changed and how I wanted to spend my time changed. I no longer need to be everything for everyone. I can say no. I know myself better now. A strength has risen in me that I didn’t know was there before. I have very little tolerance for drama, pettiness, and victim stories (which may have caused some people to drop me. I have noticed fewer social invitations at least, and that’s okay).
I am deeply rooted in gratitude in a way I wasn’t before. I appreciate every day that I get and try to do something meaningful with my days. I am also much less worried about whether my day was the most productive, agenda filled day possible. Sure, I always have my long list of tasks to complete (I am rebuilding my coaching business after all) but I crave an ease and lightness to my life that I used to only see glimpses of before. I actually monitor how much I laugh!
I encourage you to celebrate on your cancerversaries (and every single other day for that matter). Have a party for yourself! Life is unpredictable and can change in a second. Spread love, laugh often, and enjoy the precious time you have here on this big beautiful planet.
If you have a cancerversary coming up, let me know in the comments below how you are going to celebrate!