It Has Been 7 Years
Last updated: July 2023
I celebrated my seven-year cancer anniversary on April 11, 2021. I round up when I tell people what year survivor I am so I have been saying seven-year survivor for a few months now.
I typically celebrate by having dinner with my family. Each year has looked different and since we are towards the tail end of the pandemic, we chose to have the family over for a backyard bar-b-que.
Grateful for seven years
I never thought that I would hit this milestone because I was diagnosed at a later stage. I never asked what my prognosis was in the beginning, but I knew after looking online that it was not pretty. I read that an exceedingly small percentage of people make it to five years post-diagnosis. I was determined to be one of those people!
How I have changed over the years
I was diagnosed at a younger age than most and I did not start being a lung cancer advocate right away. I let my mind go through some things before I reached out to others for support. I remember when I first signed up to go to Hope Summit organized by the Lungevity Foundation. I was excited to get my airfare and hotel covered since I was a first-year participant. I was extremely sick during this time and probably should not have gone but I am thankful for Hope Summits and all of the information that I have gathered because of it. I have also met so many different people because of the summit.
A roller coaster of emotions
The last seven years have been a roller coaster of emotions. I have done just about every type of treatment that you can think of minus immunotherapy. I also do not have experience with having tumors in my brain. Because of this, I feel that I can be of service to the newly diagnosed and I have signed up to be a phone buddy with two of the most prominent lung cancer foundations.
To many more cancer anniversaries
I would love to see my 40th birthday. That year will also be my 10th cancer anniversary. I plan to have a big get-together and have everyone that has influenced me in one way or the other invited. I have always spoken of my support team. It is hard to say who my caregiver is because I feel like I have a few important people that help me out every day. Each person has their own role in the cancer journey that I was chosen to take. My twin sister, my husband, and my parents are so supportive. I also have other family members that have helped me along the way with various things. Of course, I would not be where I am today if it was not for my medical team, and for that, I am grateful to have the health insurance to go to one of the best oncologists in Chicago.
Here is to many more cancer anniversaries. I will be seeing you in 3 years for cancer anniversary number ten!
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?