Cancer Anniversary = Cancerversary

Last updated: May 2021

To me, a cancer anniversary (cancerversary) is a big milestone that needs to be celebrated. My cancer anniversary is in April and I have celebrated 6 so far. A cancer anniversary can be the date that you started chemo or perhaps the date that you had surgery. For me, it was the date that I first heard the word “cancer”.

Why celebrate my cancerversary?

I have been asked before why I celebrate this day, by more than one person so I will explain here why I celebrate. It can be confusing since cancer is not an ideal situation to be in so why would I celebrate it? I know that cancer is also a touchy subject to some people and they think that it should not be talked about. I personally talk about lung cancer with anyone that will listen. I believe that my story should be told so that if someone is diagnosed young like me, they will know that it is not necessarily the end and have some hope for the future.

We are not celebrating that we have cancer but rather that we have lived past a given prognosis. We are celebrating life.

Celebrating with loved ones

My first cancerversary was a low-key affair. I had just started traveling for a clinical trial and was not in a good place. I was tired and sick, but we went out to dinner as a family (pre-pandemic) and celebrated. I should also mention that my mom’s birthday is around the same time, so we do a dual celebration.

My third cancerversary was my favorite by far! I had always wanted to go to a specific steak house in Chicago, so we made reservations, and my family all met up there and had one of the best meals I have ever had. They brought out deserts for my mom and me. Mine said “happy cancer anniversary!” I was super happy that they acknowledged my day along with mom’s birthday.

My fifth cancerversary was celebrated with a backyard bar-b-que. I live in Illinois and it was unusually warm for April that year and so we took advantage of the good weather and grilled steaks.

My goal is to have a big celebration when I hit my ten-year cancer anniversary. I will invite every single person that has had an impact on my cancer journey. I often write a Facebook post when I go in for scans and people offer their prayers, happy thoughts, good juju, and any and all good things to make sure that I have good scans. I will invite all of those people too. I am not sure about the details, but I want to have a big party.

How do you acknowledge your cancer anniversary?

It is also important to note that not everyone will celebrate this date and that is perfectly fine. When I am not at scans or celebrating my cancer anniversary I also like to forget that I have cancer.

By writing this blog I have noted that I often celebrate by having a steak dinner. Do you celebrate your cancer anniversary? If so, tell me in the comments why you picked the day you celebrate and what your favorite way to celebrate is!

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