Tuesday, February 16, 2010

5 Year Cancerversary

Today is my 5 year cancerversary.

I can't believe I'm only 26, but have already had cancer for 5 years.

February 16 also tends to be my least favorite day of the year... in fact over the past few years February in general has just been sort of a shit month. With lowered expectations for the month of February, I don't think you can imagine exactly how overwhelming the awesomeness of this February has been.

But that's not what I want to talk about in this post.

5 is a nice number. Sort of a mile point on how we measure our lives... looking back in 5 year increments. So this is 5 years in review... more for my benefit than anything else... because sometimes you need to know what you've accomplished, even with cancer... and these are totally arbitrary things that stick out in my mind... remember, I'm a travel junkie so that tends to stick out in my mind most as an accomplishment.

Feb. 16, 2005: Got into my first law school, told my results were "suspicious" and had the first of many multiple hour conversations with a boy I didn't really date for over a year (a story for another post).

year 1: Graduated from college, went to mexico a week or so after radiation, climbed a pyramid (dumb idea) went night diving (dumber idea, was stung by sea urchin, abandoned by dive body, attacked by little orange fish and floated in darkness for 20 minutes while the boat tried to find me). Worked w/ handicapped kids over the summer, moved in to my first apartment on my own, Started lawschool, started a law school volleyball team...

Year 2: jumped out of an airplane, (I don't remember this summer), Started grad school, ran a public interest auction, worked at a non-profit immigration firm... helped refugees and family's get in, and got a boy medical care.

year 3: backpacked vietnam, laos, thailand, malaysia, singapore; worked in cambodia, started a space law moot court, help set up a mediation organization as vice president, treasurer, international law society, worked as a district attorney

Year 4: worked in hamburg, germany... backpacked: france, germany, sweden, denmark, poland, russia, luxembourg, Did an international moot court in Canada, organized mediation training for lawyers; started blogging

Year 5: Started and won a mediation competition, graduated from both law and grad school. Won community service award, and Order of Barristers, took a 1912 mile road trip zigzagging through VA and PA, Saw amish country, hit up 2 ren fairs, trip to New York City; asked to guest blog on various sites, developed and taught street health and human rights course to at risk youth, teaching handi-capped swim lessons, peace corps nomination and of course, clean bill of health.

Not too bad from my perspective. Not exactly what I think most normal mid-20 year olds tend to do, but normal was never exactly my thing.

So here I am 5 years later and there's a few things I've noticed lately, the main one being that I seem to be doing all things possible to regain who I was 5 years ago. I sort of want to put myself back where I was when I was 21. I'm back to wanting to go save the world. I'm working to be back at my pre-cancer weight. Recently cut off what was left of my straight hair, so i'm back to having a super curly afro. I realize how superficial that might all sound, but its a big deal. I'm not fighting how cancer has changed my life, I'm just back to being settled in a way, and looking to picking things back up where I feel like I left off... though if it starts to sound like I'm drinking and partying as much as I did at 20/21, someone should probably step in.

And that's where I am here on this 5 year cancerversary.


Kauline said...

Wow, you have accoomplished more than anyone I know and managed to do it all while fighting for your life. It's clear to me that your life is beyond well deserved. Now you can live your life without fear that you have a "monkey on your back".

Go out there girl and change the world!

Kaylea Notarthomas said...

Congratulations!! I celebrated my own 5 year cancerversary of thyroid cancer about a year ago. You are truly an inspiration!! I've linked back to your blog on my own thyroid cancer blog (the post will go up later tonight or tomorrow). I'd love it if you'd check it out and recommend it to your followers!