With a history of brain cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and a drinking problem; anniversaries have become a natural way for me to remember certain dates: Dates I was diagnosed, dates I was in the hospital, the last day I drank.
The years following my cancer diagnosis (which was 3 days after my 18th birthday, March 31st), my birthday and early April became days of a “Dark Anniversary”. I was drinking for the first 3 of those time periods, and that would make me angry when I looked back to my diagnosis. Even after I stopped drinking, I would occasionally feel sad during the days following my birthday. It usually came out of nowhere and would have me wondering why I was feeling so dreadful until I remembered, “Oh yeah, cancer diagnosis”.
In the years since, I have tried to turn the darkness into stretching out my birthday to a weeklong celebration. Rather than looking back and saying to myself “That wasn’t fair or that really sucked”, I have transformed these days into a time of thankfulness and fun activities.
It makes sense to me that I hung up a Wayne’s World clipping during the summer of 1992. This was the summer that I was battling brain cancer. Two of my biggest weapons in this battle were my family and laughter. I kept both close to me that summer, and I think it played a huge part in the success of my treatment.
No matter how many medical battles I’ve fought, won, or still live with; I realize they don’t compare to the anniversary of September 11th. They are my own personal battles and I was/am able to deal with each of them because of family and friends who have supported me. I didn’t personally know any of the people that were senselessly murdered 10 years ago tomorrow, but I try to use that day of a reminder of how precious life is.
More on this tomorrow…
In the meantime, you can check out: