This entry was written by Debra Strauss, who has been living WELL with metastatic breast cancer for almost 19 years:
2012 will mark the 25th anniversary of my original breast cancer diagnosis and the 20th year of my mets diagnosis.
When LBBC asked me how I was going to celebrate, I realized that I hadn’t given it any thought.
So here goes.
I guess I could go on a fabulous trip. Or buy a great piece of jewelry. Or have a big dinner with family and friends.
But none of those things seem right (although they all seem enticing).
For my 20th anniversary, in 2007, I did the Komen 3-Day Walk. I raised a lot of money and had a great time training and walking with one of my dearest friends. But the next day it was over (except for the blisters). This time, I want to do something that’s a little more engaging and reflective.
In 1992 when I found out that the cancer had metastasized I thought my life was coming to an end. My children were 6 and 9. I never thought I’d see them graduate from high school. These last 20-plus years have been a gift. My children are wonderful adults. My husband and I have been married for almost 35 years – some difficult years of course – but also there are years filled with joy and love. My view of life has become clearer and more comforting. My faith continues to expand. I feel lucky every day.
I’ve never called myself a survivor. And thriver is too contrived for me. But recently I came across striver – and I like that.
So, for my 25th anniversary celebration I’m going to keep striving: striving to stay healthy, striving to be a better person, striving to help others, striving to make a difference. And really, why wait until 2012? I’m starting the celebration today.
What will you do to celebrate today? Is your diagnosis recent? Or “ancient” like mine? Or are you a friend or family member of someone with breast cancer? I hope we can all celebrate what we have, right now, right this minute, without looking back with regret or looking forward with fear. Today might be difficult, but this one moment can be wonderful. Maybe that’s the best celebration of all.