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Marking Milestones


Enjoying some down time with four-day-old Emma in 2006.

I was diagnosed with cancer in May of 1982 – not long before my second birthday. I was enrolled in a clinical trial that was getting promising results, and after a few blood count hiccups, I completed treatment, went into remission, and stayed in remission. Next May will mark 30 years since that diagnosis. I’m sure I’ll enjoy my 32nd birthday in 2012, but I’m much more excited about that three decade mark!

Since my treatment was a clinical trial, nobody knew what the long-term effects would be. I was thrilled to have Emma, and having Johnny and Lily has been every bit as exciting. I still send in forms for a late effects study every year – and now my kids get forms as well. There are still unknowns, but overall it looks like people with my health history can live healthy lives, even if we get coverage requests turned down by life insurance companies.

It has been wonderful to see a lot of progress in cancer research and treatment over the course of my life. I also appreciate the greater public awareness there is about cancer. I can even say, that – at this point – I’m grateful I had cancer. Having cancer taught me to appreciate every single day, and not to get worked up over things that don’t really matter. It’s not a piece of my personal history that I have always embraced. I have friends who currently have cancer, friends who are cancer survivors, loved ones I’ve lost to cancer, friends watching loved ones struggle with cancer. It’s a cruel disease.

This post – my 1000th post – is sponsored by American Cancer Society – an organization I have worked with a lot, and that has done a great deal to fund cancer research, raise awareness, and provide a place for survivors and loved ones to find support and understanding.

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

27 thoughts on “Marking Milestones”

  1. Oh Mary, I had no idea you were a cancer survivor! I lost my sister to cancer shortly after she turned 36, so I always try to bring awareness to people around me. Huge hugs

  2. Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog

    You are AMAZING! Here’s to many more years of good health, healthy kiddos, and many more wonderful posts on your sweet blog!! xoxo

  3. Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your story and continuing to support ACS! My daughter was 2.5 when diagnosed with leukemia (just this past August). She went into immediate remission, but will continue treatment for two more years. Your story provides such inspiration!

    1. Hi Julie! I’m so glad that your daughter is doing so well! I hope she tolerates her remaining treatment well, and stays in remission!

  4. What a precious photo and a wonderful post to celebrate your life and the gift of children you’ve been given. I love how you’ve come to see the cancer with a new perspective, one that gives you joy and peace and gratitude. It’s a fabulous way to live, and it is evident in the way you write as well. Blessings.

  5. crittersandcrayons

    Wow! What a story!!! I’m so glad you’re better now and good luck to your friend, Sandi!!!

  6. Thank you for sharing. Congrats on this milestone in your life and for continuing to support an organization dear to your heart. May there continue to be many more “survivor” stories like yours and the one you posted. Cancer is a cruel disease.

  7. What a wonderful post. I didn’t realize we were about the same age (I turned 32 yesterday).

    I’m so happy for you to be celebrating this milestone.

  8. Wow. So interesting! I’ve been a follower of your site for a long time. :) It’s amazing how many kids who had Wilm’s in the 70s and 80s were told that they were never going to be able to have children themselves. And here we are! I still get my children checked yearly just in case. But all is well. :) Cheers!

  9. Did you have Wilm’s Tumor? I am also a survivor of Wilm’s Tumor!!! I also have been blessed with 2 healthy kids.

  10. This is an awesome way to celebrate 30 years of being cancer free and your 1000th post. Congratulations!

  11. That’s so cool that you’ll be celebrating 30 years in remission! Congrats! My best friend in high school got cancer when we were 15. She’s celebrating 20 years in remission, and I know she always cherishes that date, probably above her birthday, too!

  12. Look at how tiny Emma is in that picture!

    Cancer is such a horrid disease, and I’m happy you survived it too. Congratulations on 30 years of cancer free!

  13. A very touching story! This is the first time in my life that I’ve had close friends who have had cancer or are going through treatment now, so it’s really amazing to hear your story! I feel very grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know you and your family!!!

  14. Mike’s comment is so sweet. Beautiful post. This is a wonderful story. We are big supporters of the ACS. Like most people, we have lost good friends and family members to cancer – it is a cruel disease.

  15. I’m so happy you were able to survive cancer! I’m also grateful that we could have kids together. :-) Congratulations on your 1000th post! I love you!

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