Today it's been five years. Five years since it was confirmed that I had cancer.
At that time the idea of reaching this date seemed pretty unlikely. I would spend hours researching the prognosis for young women with breast cancer and the majority of my late-night Google findings had tragic and frightening outcomes. More often than not I was pretty convinced that I wouldn't live beyond 2 years.
But today is THEE day. My 5 year mark has arrived.
I'm told that recurrence rates decrease a little bit beyond this point, though I know nobody truly knows. But to be here in this moment with no evidence of disease (as far as I know) feels like a miracle. I am thankful beyond words. Quite honestly, it feels like a dream that I've reached this point in survivorship. At times this milestone felt like it would never come. 2017 was once so far away! There was so much time for the shit to hit the fan!
So I told myself that if I reached 5 years I would: 1. Be in Hawaii 2. Be cracking the bottle of wine that was bought the day I found the lump 3. Have a burning ceremony of all the booklets, pill boxes and papers related to my diagnosis.
NOW: Hawaii is waiting for me in February. I don't really drink, so I'm not sure about the wine. And I do plan on cleansing the house of evidence that I was a cancer patient (minus all my patho reports of course).
SO today feels pretty damn special to me. It's emotional. It's raw. I'm feeling part I've-Come-So-Far celebratory, part holy F*CK that just happened, and a small part still learning to live with the unknowns. I know nothing is guaranteed and 5 years doesn't mean 'cured'. But I feel a healing occurring in me daily. And even through the hard stuff, the loss, the reminders, the physical / emotional scars, I can say I am fairly at peace with where I'm at.
Was cancer a gift? No. But it's been my teacher. It somehow managed to make my world feel both broken AND whole. It made me face my mortality - And it taught me how to live. It's been the worst thing - And it's also lead to the best things.
❤️ Carrying a smile and an ever-grateful heart. ❤️