This week marks four years since my last surgery. I always make a point to put the dates of my past three brain surgeries on my calendar, and treat myself to some good food or gifts on the anniversaries. I tell all of my friends excitedly about this, and typically get responses along the lines of, "Oh that's great!" or, "Wow!" When I told my mother about my last surgery anniversary, she asked something that nobody has before: "Why do you continue to celebrate your surgery anniversaries? Don't you want to just move on?"
This was honestly something I had never thought of. Why do I continue to observe these days like holidays? What is the point of it?
When I think of my surgeries, I don't think of good times. In fact, I think of some of the most difficult days of my life. I remember the times I've felt completely hopeless, completely alone, completely broken. I reminisce about high school teachers who tried to knock me down and friends who left me because being my friend was just too difficult. I think about how I had to go to the doctor four times a week just to keep myself stable.
Most importantly, I think about how despite all of that, I survived. I didn't drop out of high school or repeat a year. I didn't let my grades fall and was able to get into my dream college. I kept in touch with the friends who cared enough about me to stay by my side. I decided on a major I'm passionate about and my career path for after college.
I feel so lucky whenever I look in the mirror and see my surgical scars because they remind me of the journey I had to take to become the person I am today. If I never had my surgeries, I probably would have never been able to go on to college after high school. I would have never met some of my closest friends, and I would have no choice as to what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Many people think of the anniversaries of major surgeries as dark and difficult times. For me, they remind me about how far I have come, how strong I am and how the best is yet to come for me.
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