November 30th didn’t used to mean anything to me other than the last day of November. Today, it reminds me of the day I became a survivor.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Everyone’s cancer journey is different and everyone has their own dates they recognize or celebrate. If you go back through my blog you will see that my cancerversary is on June 4th – a day I recognize, definitely not celebrate. Well, November 30th, we celebrate! November 29th was my last day of chemo and in my mind it was the end of the battle. I still had a couple more surgeries to go through and had to finish Herceptin for another 8 months but I had finished the toughest part. Chemo. I hated chemo and I hope I never have to do it again.
You know that quote “Today is the first day of the rest of your life?” I used to hate that quote. I first heard it in my 7th grade gym class when they were talking to us about drugs and alcohol. I thought it was super cheesy. But November 30, 2010 that quote became very real for me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. November 30th was the first day of the rest of my life as a breast cancer survivor. Even today, I think of that quote and wonder how I can be better – a better person, better wife, better friend, etc than I was before cancer. I kinda feel like cancer gave me a do over.
Since 2010, life has been different. I’ve struggled to find balance – balance in my personal life, my physical life, my work life, and my cancer life. I don’t know if I will ever be perfectly balanced but I will strive to get there. From talking to my other survivor friends, I think it’s pretty common to feel this way. Cancer has reminded me to not sweat the small stuff (I hate that quote too) and life is too short not to be happy but I hate that it’s always there. Cancer is always on my mind. Just when I’m ready to move on and forget about it, something comes up – some ache or pain or lump. I hate to be so paranoid about it but I just don’t want to have to do it all over again. I don’t want to make the phone calls to tell people and I don’t want to have to go through more surgeries. Cancer made me tougher, despite what I just wrote, and I know the more survivorversary’s I celebrate the chances start getting smaller of it coming back. So finding balance with my physical life and diet are important to me.
In years past, the way we celebrated was we ran in the Las Vegas Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon. I even convinced my non runner husband to run it with me last year. This year, we’re spending the weekend in Portland with friends. I look forward to more survivorversaries and I’ll continue to take deep breaths to keep me balanced.