This picture is more than 30 years old. In fact, as I am reminded by an invitation to my school class reunion, it is actually 35 years old.
But as the clock on this page states, I am approaching 30 years cancer free of Hodkgin’s Lymphoma. In fact, I will hit that huge milestone in exactly 18 months.
And so, as I approach this milestone, over the next year and a half, I know that I will spend a lot of time personally reflecting on the path I took from discovery, to diagnosis, to treatment, to remission.
Of course, waaaaaay back in the early 1980’s, no one ever thought of turning their cameras backwards to take a picture of themselves, today referred to as a “selfie.” And no one as far as I knew, never really thought of photodocumenting their cancer journeys. You have to realize, as late as the 1980’s, at least as far as I was concerned, cancer was a death sentence, no matter what type of cancer it was. The last thing on my mind was taking a picture of me, on a path to my demise.
And so, there are no photos of me during my time dealing with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Fortunately, I have a lot of my records, and those are things that I will most likely publish to demonstrate just how far we’ve come. To my knowledge, and if I find them before that 30th year milestone, there are only 3 photos taken of me during this time. One, a photo for a church directory. A second, a candid photo of me resting on my couch. And finally, my current driver’s license taken during the middle of my chemotherapy treatments. That I know for a fact will never see the light of day, because I was so adamant when I saw the photo, I never wanted to remember that time period again.
I have experienced so many things over my survivorship, some good, some not so good, and some awful and tragic. But the fact is, I would not have changed anything that has got me here today.
I know so many survivors today, personally who have a lengthier longevity than I do. And it means so much for me to have someone to chase after as far as longevity. But I also realize my role for all of my “newbie” and “younger” survivors, and I hope some day that you all can enjoy similar memories and happiness, and of course the longevity that I have for all these years.
And a quote that I have used so many times in writings I have done…
“As I continue down the road of remission, I will keep looking in my rear view mirror to make sure that you are still following me. And if you are not on that road, hurry up! It’s a great ride!”