For the past 22 years, National Cancer Survivors Day has been celebrated the first Sunday in June. According to the official website, this day is “a symbolic event to demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.”
I was diagnosed with cancer 27 years ago last month. I was 22 months old, and I quite literally have no memory of not being a cancer survivor. My story is about as ideal as survival stories come: diagnosed at stage I, surgery followed by a few months of chemo, no relapses, a return to health. I was left with one kidney instead of two and a scar neatly slicing my body in half right above my belly button. I did well in school, got married, held some interesting jobs; I’m even able to have my own healthy biological children.
Over the past 27 years, I’ve lost friends and family members to cancer. I’ve met children with scars identical to my own, but with less favorable outcomes. I want to live to see the day when survivors with stories like mine are the majority, not the minority. In the meantime, I try to live my own life in such a way to honor those who’ve gone before: fellow survivors, bereaved friends and family members, and the researchers and medical practitioners who work so hard to fight this disease.