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Feeling Nostalgic

When I was first diagnosed, every holiday or major event would bring the thought “this might be my last….” Christmas, birthday, family vacation – fill in the blank. It took about 2 years before I was able to just enjoy these milestones and not think about the worst. Then I started using them as things to look forward to.

Truly enjoying each birthday after a cancer diagnosis

This week was my birthday. In fact, it’s my 7th birthday since being diagnosed with a terminal disease. I never used to be very excited about my birthdays, but now I truly enjoy them. I have a new appreciation for getting older (although I would not say I’m aging gracefully) and I love celebrating with my family. I feel each day really is a gift and I’m so happy I’ve been able to experience many milestones with my family faithfully by my side.

To be honest, I occasionally wonder how many birthdays I have left or if I’ll ever be a grandma. Will my husband and I ever get to retire on the beach? Will I see my children get married? I’m overall a positive person, but these thoughts still lurk in the darkness of my mind. I despise having these thoughts. I don’t want to be sad or cry at happy events, but sometimes I do. Do you do this? I guess it comes with the territory.

Not matter how we prepare, bad news never comes easy

On a happier note, I’ve been very blessed to have great success with a targeted therapy. This week will be 5 years that I’ve been taking my magic, pink pill. 5 years! I’m considered an outlier and I realize how lucky I am. At first it was rough, and it made me genuinely sick, but eventually my body adapted. I’ve learned how to deal with my side effects and it has just become a part of my life.

This drug kept my disease stable for 4 ½ years. I had scans every 3 months, would visit my oncologist, get good news, and go home. This became such a routine that I expected good news every time. I never worry and I never get scanxiety. I knew eventually my joyride would end and I’d have progression. No matter how well I tried to prepare myself for that news, I still felt blindsided when I heard it. But after some research, we came up with a plan.

Continuing on this roller coaster ride

Next week we will be adding a chemo cocktail to my magic pill – I’m not quite ready to part ways with it yet. I feel confident that this will help me bridge the gap until another TKI becomes available. I am currently on the only FDA approved drug for ROS1 cancer, so more research is desperately needed. Please pray for good results and minimal side effects as this roller coaster resumes. I’m buckled up and ready for the ride.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.