A few months after turning 70 I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer and given about 6 months to live. Fortunately, the Universe had other plans. I was put in touch with an incredible gynecological oncologist/ surgeon who had a plan. I had two surgeries, a year of aggressive chemotherapy, and a lot of help from an incredible medical team, my loving family, and some wonderful friends. And two years later I am still fighting the good fight! The Universe has been very kind to me. I thank G-d and the powers that be that I was able celebrate another year!
No, I am not in remission. I never got there. All the cancer was removed along with multiple internal body parts, but, my type of reoccurring cancer means that it will definitely return. So, I will spend the rest of my life on and off chemotherapy. In fact, I knew that was a possibility from the beginning. But, I’m okay with that. Because every day I’m still alive is cherished. I take nothing for granted. And amazingly, I was able to celebrate two more birthdays from the time I was diagnosed.
My 71st was reached during isolation and the height of the pandemic. I stood on the second floor of my condo building and my precious grandchildren sang to me loudly from down below, counting by twos until they reached 71, and finally finished their birthday song.
I wore a chemo cap because I was totally bald, and very, very frail. My grand daughter shouted up to me, “Grandma when you get sad that you don’t have any hair, just imagine that you do. And then you will have hair in your imagination!”
Leave it to a child to make things so clear. The power of a child’s mind is so pure and filled with magical wisdom. It’s all about attitude. From that moment on I just put on my chemo hat and pretended I had hair! It worked every time!
My son came up that day fully masked and gloved to protect me due to my weakened immune system from all the chemotherapy. He brought me my favorite dinner and my traditional birthday carvel cake. The children made me cards and brought other goodies. Pandemic or not, cancer or not, I was over the moon from their love and because I was still alive.
And this year I’m elated too. I got to spend my birthday with my family. I’m currently off chemo, I’ve had my two covid vaccines, and so have my grown children. And I’ve returned to a normal weight. No more protein drinks forced on me by my doctor. In fact, once I stopped chemo and stopped vomiting, I got my taste sensation back and ate to my heart’s content. To the point where I now need to lose some pandemic pounds. It doesn’t take very long to pack on those pounds does it? 🙀
This birthday I am so very grateful! At 70 I was worried about getting old. At 72 I’m just thankful for a chance to get old. Bring on old age. I welcome you!
Even though my cancer antigen numbers are starting to go up again, I’m doing great. And when the numbers reach 100 I’ll start back on chemo. But not today. Today I rejoice. My hair grew back and it’s wild and wonderfully wavy and gray!
So bring on the gray, the wrinkles, and whatever comes with living life. I’ll take it all and be grateful. Happy 72nd birthday to moi! 🎂