I enter my cancerversary today feeling a lot less conflicted than last year, more willing to celebrate, even. It has been quite an exciting year.
Though I have spent cumulatively many days in cold, windowless waiting rooms and exam rooms this year (and I celebrate this morning in both), I have spent very little time actually feeling sick. In fact, I have spent most of my time making lemonade out of these lemons that have been thrown at me. Or dancing, if you prefer that metaphor.
I made my latest batch of lemonade last week in Rochester, Minnesota, at the Health Care Social Media Summit put on by Mayo Clinic and my old company, Ragan Communications. I spoke about getting diagnosed, “coming out” on Facebook, this blog, and of course my video. It was only a little nerve-racking and surprisingly fun to stand up in front of over 250 people and tell my story. And the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Don’t worry, I will post the video as soon as I have access to it.
I said this in my speech, with a lot more feeling and emphasis than I will say it here, but I realized when I was preparing that last year, almost no one knew I had cancer. This year, I “stood” in front of over 400,000 people on YouTube, thousands more on TV, the radio, and in the news, and these 250 people in Rochester last week and announced that I have cancer.
It feels absolutely amazing.
I don’t know why I needed to do all this. I am not extremely outgoing. I don’t usually like everyone to know my business. But before I told everyone, I felt like I was lying all the time. Now, I feel like myself. Just now, with cancer.
This year, I would like to dedicate my cancerversary to my great aunt. Also, to my dad, who spent a lot more time feeling sick (rather, hurt) this year than I did. As much as I am thankful that i’m still around to celebrate my two-year cancerversary this year, I am more thankful that my dad is just now, six months later, feeling much better.