Ten years ago on this date, I heard some extremely scary words. “You have diabetes.” and then “You have Cancer.” The D word and the C word, said within one breath of each other. My world was turned upside down in that moment. Death came to taunt me and Fear took up residence in my mind. I would be lying if I told you anything different, and though Death has gone for now, Fear still has a room in the back of my mind where it camps out between doctor’s appointments.
This is not to say I don’t have faith, because I do. I can assure you that I am a walking miracle, and I know this is because God held me up through some of the darkest days of my life. Traumatic days. Difficult days. Days that I never wish to repeat…hence the fear. However, even in the midst of the churning-gut-nervousness of those days, I knew I was being held in the palm of his hand no matter the result…live or die.
I count this date as my Diagnosis Day which is different than my Cancer-Free day in January. Today is more somber for me, whereas January is a party. This is a day of reflection. A time where I walked trembling into the unknown. A season of day to day survival with no guarantees. A place in which trying to believe was the best I could do. I would not say I was strong in this faith I was clinging to. I would say I was carried through and hoping that I would make it to the other side of the battle intact.
I have come a long way in these ten years. I feel better than ever and have energy galore. I have found my food, and I am down 50 lbs. so far, which has reversed my Diabetes! Between now and the January anniversary of 10 years cancer free, I have several doctor’s appointments. Check-ups…like a 10,000 mile tune up with my cancer team. Yes, even after 10 years I still have a team, because once a cancer patient always a cancer patient. Fear is so far in the back of my mind I am barely quivering at this next round of testing. The confidence of good results for the past 9 years mask any thoughts that spring to my mind as needles dig, and pictures are made. I push the memories out as I breathe the hope in.
These diseases taught me not to take my health for granted. Not to assume tomorrow will come. Not to put things off until “some day.” Movement=life. Natural foods=life. Attitude=life. To live fully has been my motto from that time to this. I do so by allowing myself the freedom to live. I do things that give me life. I practice self-care. I hike. I do art. I spend time with people who help me thrive. I love my family and my friends who hold me up in good and bad times. I celebrate every milestone. Even the 10 year ones. Especially those.