Friday, June 25th was my 38th birthday. I will be honest I wasn't looking forward to having a birthday. As I get older birthdays are a reminder of...well getting older, but this year my birthday was different. It was more about celebrating my life. Celebrating how far I have come in my treatments, about celebrating all the challenges and trial I have overcome. Celebrating my wonderful husband and my 3 beautiful children. Celebrating all my blessings around me. Celebrating me!
I have learned that in the cancer world birthdays are seen so differently. Birthdays are a reminder that we are still here, that cancer didn't take birthdays away from us. They are a celebration of being a survivor, a celebration of life, a celebration of triumphs, a celebration of blessings. These are things I have always taken for granted.
On many occasions I have sat in the chemo room visiting with the patient next to me and they all say the same thing, "I'm just so glad to still be here." So now as I have birthdays, I do plan on having many more, I can honestly say "YAY it's my birthday. I'm so glad to be here."
On Friday and Saturday it was also my 20 year High School reunion from Weber High. I will be honest again, I did NOT want to go. Of all the years to have my reunion it had to be the year I am bald, and thanks to chemo, steroids and not being able to be active I am far from my ideal weight. I have no eyelashes, no eyebrows, very pale skin since I am forbidden to be in the sun...oh I could go on and on. This is definitely not how I wanted to see people after 20 years. I guess I am vain because I have had a really hard time with my image these past few months. But as I stated before I am learning to celebrate what I do have. To celebrate the little bit of hair that has grown back, to celebrate when the pain goes away after each treatment, that I have 2 arms and legs that work, that I am still somewhat healthy, that I have a beautiful family, a wonderful husband who loves me no matter what, that these little things that I am so vain about will all grow back. So yes even though it has been very difficult, I am happy for what I have. Needless to say, I decided to go on Friday night, on my birthday, to the alumni only social. They also had a dinner on Saturday night, but emotionally that would have been pushing it so I did no go to the dinner. But I hear it was a lot of fun.
It was very fun to see everyone and to catch up on the past 20 years. And I will admit I had a fun time. It was kind of comical how many people that I grew up with, or that I was very close to in high school, just walked right past me because they didn't recognize who I was. I'm sure there were many others that I didn't even talk to because of that same reason. I could see the shock on their face when they looked at my name tag and saw who I was. It amazed me that I really do look that different. How easy an image can change in just a few months, or in 20 years. In the end I was tired of telling my cancer story. And I was tired of hearing, "Wow you are so brave to be here, I couldn't have done it." But if anything good came from my reunion, it was that I had my own personal triumph. That I did something that was very difficult for me to do. And I kept telling myself it just doesn't matter what people think! Because the people that really matter in this world love me for who I am, not what I look like!
Aren't my friends cute! Most of us in this picture have known each other since 7th grade and we still keep in touch. They even brought me yummy dinners during chemo treatments, bought me a cute scarf, lotion, mints to suck on during chemo, and an i-pod to listen to during chemo. They have been so supportive. Thanks you guys! You're the best!