Yo! I Made It!
Of all the reasons I have had to celebrate over the last thirty-one years of my cancer survivorship, today ranks up among the top. To my daughter’s credit, she is taking this day a lot more reserved than I am. It is a milestone that many teenagers see as a big deal, second only to when they turn old enough to get their driver’s learning permit. Turning age 18.
Like many of my friends, I now have an adult age child. And while her milestone by itself is a big deal, it was a day that on numerous occasions, I almost did not get to see.
In 1989, I was told it was not likely I would have a family due to my treatments. In 2008, less than four years after adopting my older daughter, and two years adopting my younger daughter, a fatal heart condition almost cost me my life. Four years after that, a diagnosis of sepsis via aspiration pneumonia again almost took me away from my daughters. There are numerous other health issues that I deal with.
But, this entire time, I have had one constant from the beginning, who planted the idea in my head, the doctor who recognized what was happening to my body because of the treatments I underwent for my cancer. I will never forget his words:
“I cannot reverse what is happening to you. I cannot stop it either. But, we can try to slow things down, manage what we can. I want you to see your daughters get older, graduate, get married, and someday make you a grandfather.”
This was a lofty goal considering what I had just been through, a pipe dream, just blowing smoke up my behind. But he really had me believing that. And here I am, celebrating my daughter’s 18th birthday.
I did it! We did it Doc!
I get so many eye rolls from both of my daughters because of the big deals I make about their milestones and achievements. Their youthfulness has shielded them from the severity of the many events that I have faced. But as they are older, and aware that there are more issues coming my way, they are quickly understanding, each new day is another milestone, another memory for me. And it is a big deal.
I consider myself doubly blessed. In just over two years, both of my daughters will be adults. I will do all I can not to watch the clock that is ticking against me at that point.