July 5, 1983, a Tuesday. 30 years ago. I remember it all to well, as it was my very first experience with cancer darkening my personal space. I immediately thought of my aunt who was taken by cancer when I was a teen - something I didn't really understand but knew it was painful in many ways.
When this cancerversary rolls around, I feel the same anxiety, fear, and sadness, of that day.
I had to go back to work and tell my boss. I had to call my sister, and ask her to meet me at Mom and Dad's house. I sat cross legged on the floor in our living room. My Mom was sitting on the sofa. My sister on the edge of Dad's chair, waiting for whatever news I was evasive about on the phone. I finally was able to choke out the words that I have cancer. I remember hugs, and crying, and questions I had no answers for. Next... I had to wait for my Dad to come home from work. Telling him this news was again heartbreaking. I could physically see him sink. Throughout the day, and those following, were many, many, more hugs, questions, and tears.
The days, months, and year after my diagnosis were complete and total hell. Which is an understatement. A living hell, I could have never imagined. There were days I wanted to die. There were days I thought were my last. Fighting through that year was extremely hard. And my fight was weakening towards the end of chemo and rads.
At a young age, when we should still believe we will live forever, and death is not a thought or option, I was writing my last will and testament. I was planning my own funeral, giving my partner and family my wishes. My youth, was taken away. No more did I have the free and easy- live each day with no fears - believe I would live forever - make the same crazy choices - I had one year before.
So, this well remembered date is not a happy, bake a cake, kind of day. Instead, it is a day for me to relive the dark memories of my "day - and year of hell".