10/10/2015: the day I turned 44. Pretty amazing I think… for me, celebrating another birthday is pretty amazing!
In the morning of my 44th birthday I look at the mirror and see a few changes: my unmanageable hair has more grays than I can count (thank God for hair color and balayages and whatever new thing my stylist does to hide them!); I notice a few more wrinkles although not too bad for my age; the stubborn age spots that won’t go away courtesy of many years of sunbathing at Playa Azul; oh, and of course, the extra pounds… Yes, I have changed a lot in 44 years, but looking at the mirror I notice something else, the happiness that radiates from my face. Yes, I am in fact happy, and today, I am happy to be alive and I am grateful, so, so grateful!
I find birthdays are a great opportunity for reflection; this is not something I did when I was younger but after you are told “you have cancer” birthdays take a whole new meaning. Cancer almost killed me at 27, I was literally told to decide if I wanted to be resuscitated or not because my condition was not improving. Most people don’t realize that, when you have cancer, you end up fighting a few different battles all at once; there’s the cancer (those bad cells multiplying like crazy trying to make your body their home), then there is the side effects of the treatments (the constant puking, the incredible weakness, the insomnia, the constant bathroom tours because the radiation pretty much messes up all the areas around the cervix); and then there are the complications that come with the illness (the infections, blood clots, anemia, etc.) Fighting cancer is not an easy fight, there are too many things to do and watch for, but it is a fight that you put all your effort into just for a chance to live one more day.
Read Maria’s full post.
I meet many strong women through this organization, and Erica Frazier Stum is no exception. While at Cervivor School two weeks ago in San Diego, Erica was fighting off fevers and was not feeling well overall and she never missed a beat.
She recently wrote about facing her own mortality, which is something many of you have faced or are facing right now. I hope you are as inspired by Erica’s words as I was.
I should precaution you, this isn’t like any post I’ve had before. This isn’t my normal “positive cancer post”. This is a raw, unfiltered, real post. This is the type of post most cancer patients keep neatly stored in his/her head and might not even bring out in a safe cancer support group. Yet, here it is. This will be hard to read if you know me personally. This might be hard to read if you don’t know me personally but continue to follow my story.
This post is hard to hear because it deals with mortality. It might bring up fears you have had for me that I have never really acknowledged. I don’t write this lightly. I know many of my readers, I am your wife, mother (once Wylee is old enough to read this story, if he chooses), daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, co-worker, friend. I know this is scary. I know it is something no one wants to talk about. Yet, I need to talk about it.
Read Erica’s full post.