today is my cancerversary

Those of you who are keeping track know it’s my cancerversary today. Three years ago today I was called into a little exam room with my gastroenterologist, a heptologist, my parents, and a picture of a liver on the wall, and was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was.

I didn’t write much about cancer back then–I think I was shocked into silence by all the major life changes that had occurred in quick succession (move across the country, start grad school, break up with boyfriend, get diagnosed with cancer). But I remember thinking, rather naively, that I didn’t want to become “one of those people” who lets cancer define them or change them. Out of respect to my 25-year-old self, maybe I haven’t let cancer define me necessarily, but I think I have taken it by the horns and created amazing and positive things out of it. This blog. My viral video. Stronger relationships with some of my friends and family members. New relationships. I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer three years ago today, but I wouldn’t be me.

Yes, at times, cancer has taken me by the arms and legs and created uncomfortable, painful, terrible things for me. Most notably, the past nine months. Today, in fact, I “celebrate” in the hospital or just out of the hospital (I am dutifully writing this on Monday night) from a procedure/surgery to fix a lung fluid draining problem caused by my surgery in February. If you asked me three years ago where i’d be three years from then, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned anything about a hospital. I wish I wasn’t so familiar with hospitals and procedures/surgeries. But then, I was naive to the power that cancer has, both good and bad. I think I thought I might be cured in three years.

Well, i’m not cured. But cancer hasn’t taken over, either. I can’t do anything about the power that cancer has. I can make the most out of it, I can say that it sucks. It does suck. I can power through the bad parts. I can just try to live as normal a life as possible, only with this unpredictable beast growing (or hopefully not growing, and in fact, shrinking) inside me, Sometimes making life decisions for me. In short, I can be a liver.

Today i’m remembering my cancer support groupie and my great aunt.

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9 Responses to today is my cancerversary

  1. Congratulations Lindsey on passing the three year mark! I just celebrated my 2nd Cancerversary from CNS Lymphoma on October 2nd. I admire your courage and determination in perserving through cancer and graduate school and making it through both – I am still working on finishing my incompletes to get my MCP conferred. May you have many, many more cancerversaries and I hope you are reading this from the comfort of home – or will soon be doing so!

  2. Ken says:

    Lindsey, you ARE a liver! I hope that you’re feeling much better from this week’s surgery, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in 3 weeks.


  3. Matt says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lindsey! You are a survivor & an inspiration to all of us!!

  4. Mazel tov! I have felt the same way as you that every year past my cancer diagnosis is a victory to be celebrated. Keep up the fight and many, many more!

  5. Olaina Anderson says:

    You are my favorite liver. Thank you for being in my life and for being such an amazing spirit and writer. God bless you and yours!

  6. suckyguts says:


  7. cathy says:

    Lindsey. No one knows where life will take them. When adversity was thrust upon you. You have taken the path of being a Liver and your words have inspired all to live life with intention. I have taken you with me to the Spiritual Isle if Iona. You have been held in love,support, and prayers of many people. I hope as you are home recuperating with the immediate circle of your amazing family and loving friends you can feel the circles of support that cross the lands and the aeaa. Hugs and blessings.. love Cathy

  8. Anna Goodwin says:

    Lindsey, I have been trying to meet you for two years. You are just like my daughter Christina Marie Bowden. I have changed my email address: if you wish to communicate with me email me or call me: 530-587-6054

  9. Susan Spell says:

    Hi Lindsey

    I just saw your video that was posted under the Carcinoid Cancer Facebook page. First of all my thoughts and prayers are with you has you walk this journey. My husband was diagnosed with this same cancer on December 31, 2007. For the first year they could not locate the primary. Until it started growing. They knew it was somewhere between the pancreas and the duodenum. Once it started to grow they had no choice but to remove the primary, because where it was located if it had burst he would have died instantly. In the surgery they wanted to scrape the liver to try and get rid of some of the lesions that they could see on the Octreoscan. Once Dr Boudreux(out of New Orleans) got in he was able to remove the tumor, but because of the multitudes of lesions surrounding the liver that did not show up on the scan, because they were too small he could not touch his liver. He told us he would have been in there for days. My husband had already been treated with sir spheres twice by this time. It did help to an extent, it did give him quality of life. He ended up having another sir spheres treatment around 2011. Along with the continued Sandostatin shots he had been receiving since 2008. On October 3,2012, my husband lost his battle. Keep up the fight, and my thoughts and prayers will continue.

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