Growing up, I was not extremely crazy about birthdays. Of course, I thought they were fun and a wonderful excuse to get together with some of my favorite people, but I was never the type of person who envisioned their birthday as the best day of the year.
As I grow older, I find birthdays to be quite interesting as I now see the other side of birth. I see my friends and family counting down to a day in anticipation for their new child to enter this world. Birthdays are so special to the parents-to-be, while the new baby has no idea what is really happening.
That’s kind of how I view remission. Every chemo was like a new trimester for me, as I got closer and closer to giving birth to my health.
Let me break down my cancerversaries for you!
May 19: The day I was told I had lymphoma
On the day that I was diagnosed, I already had plans to go bowling with friends. In light of the life-changing news I received from the doctor that day, I went through with my plans to go bowling for one last hoorah before my life was set to change forever.
Post-diagnosis and treatment, it has become a tradition for me to go bowling on May 19 of every year. While I’m not celebrating the fact that I was diagnosed with cancer, I am celebrating the day that I got the answers to start my journey of healing. This day was essentially the beginning of my journey!
Nov. 12: My last chemo
Now, this is a day I had been counting down to from the moment I began treatment. I was marking off the days on my calendar to reach my last chemo. This is the day that most cancer survivors celebrate as their cancerversary, as in most cases it marks the last day of treatment for them. On this day, my fiancé and I have started a tradition to do a scavenger hunt as a celebration of my last chemo. He calls it “12 Quests for 12 Rounds of Chemo.” This is a fun way to celebrate such a special day and it truly means so much to me. This day sort of feels like my birthday.
Dec. 31: The day I was told I was in full remission
This also is a day to celebrate because I finally heard the words that I had been waiting to hear for so long! While I don’t do a full-on celebration for this, it is wildly symbolic to me because it also is New Year’s Eve, which represents the start of a fresh, new, and healthy year. I like to take this day to have an inward celebration with myself to set intentions and goals for the year to come, while also creating a gratitude list for all that I am thankful for from this past year.
I want to add that these plans and days are something I put together mostly on my own. I take the responsibility of explaining to people WHY these days are important. Although it might be frustrating that people don’t jump to plan and celebrate our wins after we have achieved, I learned that we can’t always expect people to fully understand unless we do our job in teaching them. While you celebrate your milestones, try to take your disappointment and turn it into a positive by planning yourself a wonderful day and inviting the people you love! People won’t know it’s important unless we tell them!
Please share in the comments what cancerversaries you celebrate and how you celebrate them.
Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.