Today is my birthday. In the midst of finals, school picnics, graduations, camp shopping, intense (and often loud) summer family planning, June 24th only becomes real to me as the camp bus filled with my kids (and way too much luggage) turns and fades out of sight.
June is not only the anniversary of my birth fifty-one years ago but it marks the three year anniversary of the end of my treatment for Breast Cancer. I underwent a radical double mastectomy and chemotherapy. For the past three years, as I squeezed my eyes shut and inhaled the waxy smell of the candles burning on my birthday cake, my wish has never varied. "Please let me be here next year with my precious family to wish again."
There are many days that cancer or the fear of it does not rule my life the same way anymore. I know I will never be completely free of its emotional (and possibly) physical grasp. I try hard to keep it stuffed deep down inside Pandora’s Box with the lid shut tight. This year as my birthday candles burn bright I am determined to leave cancer in the dark. I am going to wish for a family vacation. Feeling healthy, strong, and free enough from constant fear to wish my own wish–now that is the greatest gift of all.