Five years ago I sat in my surgeon's office and heard him tell me I had cancer and then...nothing. I don't remember anything after that. My world shrank to the size of those two syllables and all of a sudden I couldn't see past that afternoon.
I was a few months into a fresh decade. My thirties were supposed to be filled with big dreams and opportunities and adventure. My diagnosis turned it all upside down.
Life has a funny way of keeping on keeping on. Even when I felt like I was taking one step forward and two steps back, days turned into weeks and then months and years. I've not wished away the last five years but I have had this date tattooed on my heart.
Five years is the magic number. Five years means my risk of recurrence has dropped dramatically. Five years means big dreams and opportunities and adventure don't need to be tempered by test results or specialist appointments. Five years means I can breathe again.
Five years isn't a guarantee of anything (the first person to tell me we could all be hit by a bus tomorrow gets a punch) but it is a comfort. I can wrap those five years up in a box and tuck them away. Life will keep on keeping on but now I feel like I can start making plans instead of being swept along in the terrible current that is cancer.
I have been cut open and sewn back together. My body is scarred and soft in some places and gnarled and rough in others. But I'm standing strong, five years later, bolstered by the love and support thrown at me from every corner of my life. Cancer has taken a lot from me but it's also filled me with gratitude and a deep appreciation for the different ways people show up. Today is a celebration of my five years, yes, but it's also a celebration of the amazing people in my life who kept my life keeping on keeping on. Y'all, we did it. Five years.