Why Celebrating A Birthday As A Cancer Survivor Comes With Conflicting Emotions

Many of my friends know that I enjoy celebrating.  I celebrate many of the small daily achievements.  I celebrate the big milestones.  Over this last weekend, I had the honor to celebrate me.  I added another year under my belt.  I turned 29 again . . . for the seventh time!  Adding on that extra year of experience is worth celebrating.

One of the greatest gifts cancer has given me is the ability to enjoy my birthdays.  For many years, my birthday has just been another day.  It has mainly been low maintenance.  Dinner, a birthday song, and blowing out a candle were all I ever needed.


The last two years have been different though.  The fact that I made it to another birthday is worth celebrating.  It means that I have not missed the moments in my daughter’s life that are just as special to her as they are to me.  Like watching her win an award for one of her art pieces or seeing her perform a song in front of church; these are the moments I do not want to miss.  It means I have another day to enjoy the laughter my family evokes out of me.  It means another year full of hugs and cuddles has passed.  As simple as I could put it, it means everything to me.

Let me be honest here, like I always am.  Celebrating another birthday does not always bring out the joy in my life.  It comes with some sorrow too, albeit briefly.  Another year is a reminder that this day started the whole cancer journey.  I went in for my annual check-up and was referred for the mammogram that changed my life forever.  The mammogram that was on my daughter’s birthday; a small reminder on her day that I would just as soon forget.

Despite the turmoil that birthdays in May have brought me, and those that I would just like to forget, I am making the effort to change my focus.  I am focusing on the life I have.  I am focusing on the family that brings me joy and the family that shows me their love on a daily basis.  I am celebrating me on the day of my birth.  Boy, it feels good to be 29 (again, and again, and again.)

Learn more about Angela’s battle against breast cancer.
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