July 7th Woooohooo!!!

There is some controversy in Cancerland about when you officially become a survivor. The patients feel that the day you are diagnosed you become a survivor, because each day after it you are walking forward. The medical establishment, on the other hand, says it is once you have completed your treatment. I believe that I have solved this dispute…at least in my own life. I will celebrate surviving the diagnosis on July 7th, and surviving the disease on Jan. 2nd. It only makes sense.
The day you are diagnosed your life is forever altered. Everything takes on new meaning through the filter of knowing you have a possible life-ending disease. At first, there is no treatment plan, or prognosis. You just hear one word…cancer. All the other comes later. And so you stumble through the first few days with fear as your companion, and tears at the ready. Half numb. You try to grasp the enormity of this bomb that has just been dropped into your life. Your children crumble and then put on a brave front endearing them to your heart, which is struggling to maintain composure. You realize that your definition of protection is different than God’s, which brings your faith into question. Just how far will God allow this to go anyway? Appointments, tests, and a constant stream of foreign vocabulary make you feel as if you are in another world entirely…because you are. All of this happens in a whirlwind of slow motion. It is surreal. At this point, you are lost. It is like looking out through someone else’s eyes and not comprehending what you see. A fog really. Your mind slows down, until you try to sleep, and then it goes into fast forward fueled by anxiety. Without a caregiver to hold you up through the haze, there is no telling what kind of shape you would be in. It is this experience that causes patients to want to claim the survivor title at day 2. It is this experience that deserves a title. Simple really, before you even start the fight you have survived the initial shock waves, therefore you ARE a survivor of the diagnosis.
Today is 5 years. That 5 is a magical number, because if you make it to 5 without another occurrence of cancer they consider you cured. Every day you go after 5 further reduces your risk. It is a milestone. Something that warrants celebrating. Today is a day to ride with the music loud and the top down (ummm… I mean windows)… wind in my hair…big smile on my face. Because today I am a FIVE YEAR DIAGNOSIS SURVIVOR!!

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