Continuing on with my 30th anniversary posts of my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I will not lie, my birthday thirty years ago really sucked. When asked what I wanted, only one thing, and it could not be bought… a cure. And though thirty years of remission has happened, it came at a price to my health with long term side effects that developed from the treatments I received. For many of us long-termers, we often find ourselves wondering, was it worth it? Would I do it again?
My answer is yes. Reflecting back on things that have happened over 30 birthdays since I was diagnosed, not only would not have happened without the treatments, but I have to even give the experience of having had cancer, to making me who I am today and giving me the blessings I have experienced.
First, I have met well over a thousand other cancer survivors whom we have all shared our stories with. Each on as inspirational as the next.
For a time, my career involved working in medical research, not only dealing with one of the chemo drugs I was given as a patient, but other cancer studies as well.
I regained my love to write, and have contributed articles as well as stories of cancer issues and survivor issues. In fact, one of my stories was actually performed live!!
You can actually find the story performed, “My Dad Was Just Like Me” on Youtube.
Doing the unthinkable, I took on politics briefly, campaigning twice for school board. It was a local election, which provided enough excitement for me, and it was the success of the first came, literally by a less than a few hundred votes short, that gave me the hope to run again. It was an exhausting but very rewarding experience. Unfortunately, it also did give me a behind the scenes look at politics, which I am not a fan of.
But the most important events in my life, of my thirty years of survivorship, came when I adopted my daughters. They are my reason for living.
They are the reason, when my doctors tell me, they want to make sure that I see them graduate, perhaps get married, and maybe even have grandchildren, I will do my part as well. And to do that, means that I will obviously be celebrating many more birthdays, and many more milestones.
But I would be remiss, if I did not mention, I do miss so many who have passed on, not just from this horrible disease or its effects, but everyone. I wish you could be with me today.