Around the Team Pryor household September is celebration month, because…
- Wayne’s birthday is on September 7
- A week later on the 14th is my birthday
- Our wedding anniversary is 2 days after that on the 16th
- My dad’s birthday is the 20th
- Murphy’s adoptiversary was Sept 23
But this year I realized September is also something else: Blood Cancer Awareness Month and (World) Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month.
My friend Tracie Ehmann gave me this magnet as part of a care package full of love and lovely things she sent to boost my spirits back in those dark “hitchhiker” days. (That’s how I thought of my cancer, as a hitchhiker.)
Anyway, maybe I knew September was blood cancer awareness month before, or maybe I just didn’t get it. This year it clicked that, Hey. Isn’t it funny September is not only my birthday month but the awareness month for the cancer I had?
In case you hadn’t heard the tale…
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 B-cell lymphoma on December 31, 2008. (I know. Happy New Year, right? Well, as it turned out, 2009 was.)
I endured 6 chemo treatments, followed by 5 weeks of radiation, all of which spanned six months. So for the first half of 2009 I was fighting.
But when I was declared in remission? Totally worth every agonizing, terrible, humiliating, scary, awful moment I’d experienced along the way!
Ever since then, I’ve been living. As I like to say, cancer saved me from the near-life experience I’d been living prior to 12/31/08.
Yes, near-life experience.
Cancer made me realize I’d never given myself permission to live before. There were so many things I wanted to do, but was too afraid to try, or didn’t feel I had any right to want or go after.
It was actually a horrible way to live, so cancer saved me from myself. But it also gave me something to write about. (Which I haven’t done yet, but I saw this cover on, Go On Write, one of the pre-made book cover sites I like, and fell in love with it. So I bought it. Now I have it for when I finally get my rear in gear and decide to write about all the amazing ways cancer changed my life.)
So as I get ready to celebrate another birthday, this year with my newfound awareness of what this month honors, I’m taking a moment to be grateful for all the living I’ve done in the past seven years.
I’ve crammed more into those years than I had in the 38-39 prior. Trips, activities, friends, pets, experiences in general.
I never bemoaned turning older anyway, and now I for sure never will. Every flip of the calendar is a victory. There really is a lot to celebrate. First and foremost is being healthy and able to appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly that makes up a normal year.
Because try as I might to include rainbows and roses in each day, there are clouds and thorns that also accompany them. It’s what makes life, life.
Or, as Anne Bradstreet so poetically phrased it: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Now let the partying begin!