For anyone that is familiar with cancer, you know that hitting the 5 year mark is huge in the cancer world. Most cancers, if they recur, are most likely to recur in the first 5 years. So, when survivors reach that 5 year mark, it is a huge milestone and many feel like a huge weight is taken off of their shoulders knowing that the “5 year date” is behind them.
To be completely honest, I've been far too stressed, busy, and distracted with other things in life to really process this huge moment, but I know what I'm feeling deep inside.
I honestly have no words. I have had a really hard year, but this.. this is the light at the end of the tunnel. The icing on the cake! The day that marks a huge milestone in cancer survivorship is finally here...is finally mine. I did it! To be honest, I never thought I would get here. I didn't even think I would make it to high school graduation and now I am a senior in college. Now, don't get me wrong. I’m under no illusions that five years under my belt gives me a permanent free pass. But I know that I worked hard to make it here and I am going to celebrate all day!
When you feel threatened and like your days are numbered, you really learn how to LIVE your life fully, and you appreciate things that so many take for granted. I've lived more each year since cancer than I had in all of my life prior to cancer combined, and I've had five amazing and full years like that now. Cancer really does open your eyes and give you a whole new perspective on life, and I wouldn't give that back for the world.
So what changes in my life moving forward, now that I’m five years cancer free? Do I forget all of this, and go back to living my life how I did before? Not a chance. Cancer and the challenges of life after have marked my life in ways that are permanent, and I've had to evolve in ways that are permanent in response. There's no going back.
A cancer diagnosis as a teenager is a very deeply traumatizing experience in that it strips us of every sense of security that we might have had about our lives, our health and supposed longevity, and our futures and if we'll even have one anymore, all during the period of our lives when we're supposed to feel invincible.
I can never know how many days I have, or if my cancer will come back or not. Living my life fully in the present each day, helps me feel secure in that I'm not wasting my days or my life.
I passed the 5 year mark… it just brings me to praise. It literally drops me to my knees. Our God is so incredibly mighty.
There are many days I wish he wouldn’t have used me and my family to show His glory in the way that he has ( I know that is completely selfish), but I am just blown away by Him and utterly thankful, as I have had a literal front seat to His miraculous power.