Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cancerversary: Celebrating 5 years since rebirth

The first time I heard the word "cancerversary" I remember thinking it was so clever, albeit a little morbid. I was fairly certain no one celebrated having cancer. Why would anyone celebrate having cancer?

Once I was inducted into the cancer community though, the word made more sense to me. No one was celebrating cancer, they were celebrating life. Life with cancer, life without cancer, life in general.

Cancerversaries are sometimes set as when people finish their treatment, or eradicate their disease. 

For me,  I count my cancerversary as the day the doctor came into the hospital room and told me I have leukemia. Since my leukemia is chronic, I don't get to celebrate the day my cells went back to normal and the leukemia vanished from my body. 

I do however, have the opportunity to celebrate my rebirth. 

There was a jolt. I felt like my body and my spirit were separate. At one point, that night of diagnosis, I felt claustrophobic within myself. My spirit "I" was at odds with my physical "I." The spirit "I" didn't want to deal with the physical "I's"drama. 

In that moment, when I separated from myself, I could see things much more clearly than ever before. The love handles on my form that caused me to wear a larger size of jeans didn't matter. They hadn't mattered all along, my physical "I" just didn't know love handles didn't matter.

My conflicted relationships with others weren't conflicted at all. There were people I had to let go of, and there were people I had to pull closer. In that moment when I separated from myself, I knew exactly where each relationship fit.

Passion for music, love, creativity, spirituality, assisting a greater cause, and leaving a legacy far outweighed the amount of money I had squirreled away in the bank. 

I was clear. 

In this, my fifth year of cancerversaries, I am reminded of my rebirth.  The clarity of that first day isn't as searing now. However, the ability to prioritize, is still strong within me. 

I am celebrating today the love in my life, the passion in my words, the deeper understanding of self, and yes, five years of living with cancer.

Happy Cancerversary to me, and to anyone else who has been given the gift of deeply understanding the importance of living.


  1. Great post, Erin. You are such an inspiration! I love your passion, your positivity, and your zest for living (with or without cancer). Happy cancerversary to you, friend! Love you!

  2. Glad to celebrate beside you, Erin! Congratulations, we have a long life ahead of us. It's good to know that you're spending it "alive".