I was recently asked when to celebrate being cancer free. Do you celebrate after a surgery? Maybe after chemotherapy? Or, do you wait until the end of radiation? For me, there was never a question of when; I celebrate all the wins!
I often celebrate the small things right alongside the big. My husband and I enjoyed a nice “good-bye” dinner with a small two-person party for my real breasts the night before my mastectomies. Not a win, I know, but celebrating my real girls for the life and health they provided my daughter before we said good-bye to them forever was not only a fun activity, but one that helped my emotional well-being.
That mastectomy surgery is the day I celebrate as being cancer free. That was the day that all cancer was cut out of my body leaving me completely free of the unwanted disease. There was no need for chemotherapy or radiation because my cancer was caught in the early stages. However, if I needed those treatments, I know I would have celebrated the wins after each milestone. Celebrating yearly the day I became cancer free is a huge win I do not let go by.
In addition to being cancer free, I celebrate the day I finished my reconstruction surgeries. The end to my final chapter involving my surgeries and almost a year-long journey finally came to a close. That win is one of my favorites to celebrate. Why? Because this is the one I can be goofy with, making fun of my 100% fake boobs, creating names for my “twins” birthdays.
The small wins of walking out of my oncology appointments with no news to report are not forgotten. Celebrating the news of being 2 ½ years away from finishing my Tamoxifen is a win I happily reported to my daughter who has been craving a sibling for years. The win of waking the next morning is always appreciated. The ability to be here to watch my daughter’s achievements and performances leaves me the capability to do an internal happy dance.
I have always been one to celebrate wins, whether they are mine or someone else’s. Whether those wins are big or small, yearly or daily, doesn’t matter to me. They are always worth celebrating. Usually my celebration is internal, yet some of those wins make it to Facebook – like this past weekend’s win – or honored with a small group of friends. Everyone has their own personal style, but my advice is that you take the opportunity to enjoy your wins. You are here, be thankful and enjoy it!
“Y’all know I am one to celebrate my wins. Some might think I’m a little strange for celebrating this win, but it’s one of my favorites. Two years ago marked the end of my cancer surgery journey. Celebrating the twins birthday today! Creatively named: B1 & B2, Tune-in Tokyo, Lucy and Ethel, Fun Bags . . .”
~ Angela’s Facebook post, March 29, 2015
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