This year I let my pink-aversary, otherwise known as the day I was diagnosed just pass me by just like any other day. There weren’t any plans to party or outrageous events scheduled at all. Just me and my consulting business working the day away for my clients. But you know, that was the plan. crickets, baby, crickets…
The week prior, I accidentally hosted a Cancel Cancer-versary Happy Hour at Benjy’s Lounge in the Village with friends and colleagues to celebrate the fact that I would not be celebrating the day that I heard the words, “You have Cancer.” Just five short years ago, hearing these words instantly changed my life and from then on I became the unwilling participant on a roller coaster of emotions accompanied by news from my doctors, employer, boyfriend, family and friends. MD Anderson has a young program called Cancer 180 because that’s what happens when you are diagnosed, you make a 180 degree turn in your life. Today, I hear commercials that say, “You have Cancer” and with genetic testing and so many awareness campaigns, I certainly hope that women don’t get a ticket to my sort of ride since breast cancer seems to have become common, which is really sad news. These days cancer is becoming a chronic illness that some people are becoming accustomed to hearing. And as an advocate, my work focuses on prevention and continued awareness as more and more drugs, and someday vaccines hit the market for breast cancer. My biggest advice for all women is to be your own advocate and if something is wrong and your doctor doesn’t believe you, then find another doctor because no one knows your body better than you.
For me, this year meant that I would not continue to be defined by cancer and all it’s trappings. I mean, who else celebrates the day they got divorced (besides me), or the day they were in a car wreck, because that’s exactly how a cancer diagnosis feels. Survivorship is forever, but we are all survivors if you ask me. Every single day we are all fighting cancer. I’ve also learned that there are worse things than a breast cancer diagnosis and now that I’m five years away from my diagnosis, my mortality rate returned back to those of normal healthy women. That’s right. I’m an abnormal healthy woman. Always have been. Always will.
The coolest part about the night at Benjy’s was that I told our waiter that I had my first “Sandy Kicked Chemo’s Ass Party” at the Benjy’s on Washington, and he asked me what year it happened. I said, 2009. He says, I was working there at that time, and you know, I remember your party! No way. Yes, way. Well, I continued, then I had “Sandy Kicked Radiation’s Ass Party at the same Benjy’s, when he looks at me as says, That party was much more subdued as I remember. Well, Yes I said! So, now we have moved up in the world and are now having the party to end all partys here at the Benjy’s Lounge in the Village with all the local doctors from the Medical Center, and he congratulated me. Then, to top it off, as we sat in the middle section we had a great view to catch glimpses of the magical ceremony for the opening of the Olympics.
One of my friends commented, “See even all the countries are joining in your celebration.”
I couldn’t agree more.