A woman holds a cake surrounded by smiling friends

My 8 Year Cancer Anniversary

I just celebrated my eighth year living with stage IV lung cancer on April 11, 2022. I wrote before about my seventh cancer anniversary. I have the same but also different thoughts from last year.

During this past year, I developed advocacy fatigue as I stepped back from my advocacy efforts. I also found that I was very unhappy with the cancer life and spoke about this with my oncologist who then referred me to speak with a professional. I voiced my concern about having to use an action day for scans and my oncologist fixed that for me! Next up: Saturday sans.

Why celebrate my cancer anniversary?

When I say that I have celebrated my anniversary, I do not mean that I am celebrating having cancer. I am celebrating seeing another year on earth, another year with my family, and another year working. If you have not experienced a lung cancer diagnosis or even a severe illness this may seem like a foreign idea to celebrate a milestone like this. I still hope to hit the ten-year milestone to which I have now named, unicorn status.

Recognizing my cancerversary

When my sister asked me what I was going to be doing for my anniversary, I simply replied, working! You know because it was on a Monday. But jokes aside, I had actually not made any plans. I started work and in my downtime, I posted on Facebook. I mentioned those that we have lost and how I will continue the fight for them, and I thanked everyone for their time, donations, and everything else that has been given to me over the past 8 years. I ended my post with an appropriate song lyric from my favorite artist, Andrew McMahon.

"The way you see the world
It got you this far
You might have some bruises
And a few of scars
But you know you're gonna be okay."

I had a semi-slow day at work which is always nice. I was able to have lunch with a friend and after work, Robert suggested tacos and Dunkin for dinner but I had other ideas. I wanted to go to Olive Garden for some stuffed ziti fritta and a glass of wine. It was delicious, the wine was good and the company even better! After that, we did a little shopping. I got to spend some time with my sister, mom, and niece before making it home. All in all my cancer anniversary celebration was perfect.

Continue to live life to the fullest

I try not to look at any statistics posted online about lung cancer but even I know that living with stage IV lung cancer and thriving for eight years does not happen to all patients. Survivors' guilt is a big thing in the lung cancer world and I have had to face it head-on. I will take this gift that I am given and not only live life to the fullest, but I will also live it with purpose. I will continue to help the newly diagnosed as well as advocate for more research funding.

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