This post is from Brad’s List.
I was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer on Saint Patrick’s Day 2016. Needless to say, that was not a good day. But since then I have chosen to celebrate that day as my Cancerversary. So, what the heck is a Cancerversary? Here is how the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship defines it:
A Cancerversary is the anniversary of a specific time, date or event in the life of a person touched by cancer. Since each cancer journey is unique and different, individuals may choose different milestones to celebrate.
I think the first thing you might ask is why the hell would I want to celebrate that day? Well it is a personal choice that not all cancer survivors participate in, but I look at it this way. That day changed the projection of my life in quite a few ways. I had a pretty rough year after diagnosis, and during that time I made some pretty big life decisions. When Saint Patrick’s Day of 2017 rolled around, I thought the past twelve months was not a lot of fun. But I’m still here, and that’s a pretty good reason to celebrate. Now I have the luck of the Irish that my Cancerversary happens to fall on a holiday of sorts. And like many places, in Wisconsin it is one of the biggest party days of the year. So, it’s not hard to find people who want to celebrate with me, even if they are not aware that the day has been changed to Brad’s Cancerversary. Well not officially, but you get the point.
After 2017 I have started to make more extensive Cancerversary plans. I wanted to do something a little more meaningful to me. And while I may acknowledge it, the “celebration” is not always able to be on the actual day. I love to travel and go on new adventures, and I’m always looking for a great deal. In 2018 I was able to go to Ireland with some family and hike the Wicklow Mountains for 5 days. Going during the off season made it affordable. We ended the trip in Dublin on Good Friday. It was the first time in many years that the pubs were allowed to be open on that day, so it rivaled the craziness of St. Pats day here. But really, the hiking adventure and bonding with my relatives, and others we met along the way, is what I will remember most.
In 2019 I was able to get tickets to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. It’s quite a process getting tickets, but they are free. My wife and I spent a couple fantastic days in NYC, and while not on the actual holiday, we did do the Irish Pub thing to represent the spirit of that day.
Well 2020 rolls around and we are in a new reality! A good friend was going to be visiting her son in Mexico City and I could join the trip for just the price of a flight. I was looking forward to that adventure and then the Coronavirus hit. By the time St. Pats day rolled around a worldwide pandemic had been classified. So, this year my Cancerversary consisted of a Guinness at home. Am I disappointed, sure I am. But my small loss means nothing in the importance of controlling and defeating this awful virus. Looking forward to next year!
I understand that for many survivors the memory of diagnosis day is very traumatic. But could you turn that negative into a positive? Another way to tell cancer that it does not own you? Other milestones you could celebrate;
The completion of radiation or chemotherapy treatment.
Results from tests that show treatment is working.
A diagnosis of NED (No Evidence of Disease).
A Cancerversary celebration can be anything you’d like it to be. There are also many ways to acknowledge a Cancerversary;
Throw a party.
Simply pamper yourself for a day.
Give back and volunteer.
Do a good deed or make a donation.
Simply take some time to reflect on your journey.
I’d love to hear if and how you celebrate. Please send a message through the contact area of my website- www.bradslist.info. Or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks, Brad.