I’m coming up on a lot of year anniversaries in the next few weeks. The most important of which is the 25th, the day I was diagnosed.
But today is my birthday.
Under normal circumstances, I am getting to the age where birthdays are unwelcome. After 21, it’s not really exciting to turn another year older anymore, because it just means you’re getting older. Today i’m 26. Under normal circumstances, I would be apprehensive about inching another year closer to 30.
But today, I am excited to be 26. Maybe excited isn’t the right word. I’m thankful. Relieved. Secure. Because it means have survived almost a year with cancer. And each new birthday from now on, will be not another year I that I am older, it will be another year that I have survived. That I have lived. Maybe it’s not really an accomplishment to live a year with neuroendocrine cancer because, according to my doctor, “many patients live many years with neuroendocrine cancer.” Presumably, I have already lived many years with neuroendocrine cancer.
But this year, I got through a diagnosis, a biopsy, a major surgery, an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram, many scans, a few rounds on one type of chemo, and six rounds on two different types of chemo. Also, two quarters of grad school. And two breakups. And emotionally, i’m OK. And physically, i’m OK.
I’m excited to be 26 today because it means i’m not 25 anymore. As you can see, 25 was a bad year. It can’t get too much worse.