I consider myself to be something of a romantic. When I started dating my first boyfriend, I wanted to celebrate every little milestone. Three months was a semi-versary. Six, a half. He and I didn’t make it to a year, thankfully, but celebrating the little things got me excited. With Milo, we celebrate more: the first kiss, the first I love you, etc. We don’t necessarily do anything big, but we make note of the fact that the day is special to us and our relationship, even if I have to remind him of the date.
Today is a half-versary I get to celebrate on my own.
Six months ago today I was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma. Despite the fact that my oncologist refused to give me statistics and probabilities to my survival, the internet was more than happy to oblige. Research told me that, even with the best of aggressive treatments, I wouldn’t survive six months. At stage four, my survival rates are nearly non-existent. In fact, even if diagnosed while stage one the five year rates are a mere thirty percent. Compared to the survival rates of other cancers caught at the same stage, it’s pretty pathetic.
So today…I am supposed to be dead.
I’m not, however. In fact, I had lunch with the ladies I used to work with in Performance Improvement and coffee afterwards with my friend Rachel. I went to the dentists, shopped for books, drove my car around and even found time and energy to blog. I am not nauseous or vomiting. I’m not as excessively tired as I was a few days ago post chemo. I am very much an active and otherwise healthy thirty-year-old female…
Except, I’m supposed to be knocking on death’s door.
It’s an odd feeling to know that science expects you to die sometime in the next five to ten years. It’s exceedingly creepy to realize that you are already surpassing a researcher’s expectations for you. I don’t know what is in store for me, if I’ll get five or ten years (or fifty!). I don’t even know if I will be able to blog six months from now celebrating a year out from diagnosis. What I do know is that today I am alive, happy and still fighting. I have beaten the odds thus far and hope to continue to do so. I would love to turn six months into six years or, better yet, sixty years –though that might be pushing it since no one in my family has lived to be ninety.
So, cancer, to you I say: screw you. You can’t have my hair, I took that from you. You can’t have my spirit, that’s mine alone. You can’t have my life, I want it more than you do. You may be strong, but I am stronger. Feel free to show yourself out.
Here’s to six months!