Enjoying some down time with four-day-old Emma in 2006.
I was diagnosed with cancer in May of 1982 – not long before my second birthday. I was enrolled in a clinical trial that was getting promising results, and after a few blood count hiccups, I completed treatment, went into remission, and stayed in remission. Next May will mark 30 years since that diagnosis. I’m sure I’ll enjoy my 32nd birthday in 2012, but I’m much more excited about that three decade mark!
Since my treatment was a clinical trial, nobody knew what the long-term effects would be. I was thrilled to have Emma, and having Johnny and Lily has been every bit as exciting. I still send in forms for a late effects study every year – and now my kids get forms as well. There are still unknowns, but overall it looks like people with my health history can live healthy lives, even if we get coverage requests turned down by life insurance companies.
It has been wonderful to see a lot of progress in cancer research and treatment over the course of my life. I also appreciate the greater public awareness there is about cancer. I can even say, that – at this point – I’m grateful I had cancer. Having cancer taught me to appreciate every single day, and not to get worked up over things that don’t really matter. It’s not a piece of my personal history that I have always embraced. I have friends who currently have cancer, friends who are cancer survivors, loved ones I’ve lost to cancer, friends watching loved ones struggle with cancer. It’s a cruel disease.
This post – my 1000th post – is sponsored by American Cancer Society – an organization I have worked with a lot, and that has done a great deal to fund cancer research, raise awareness, and provide a place for survivors and loved ones to find support and understanding. They asked that I include this video, which I’ll dedicate to Sandi, a three-year cancer survivor who went through chemo while pregnant with her now-three-year-old daughter and just completed training to be an oncology nurse. Congratulations, Sandi!