Celebrating My First Cancer-Free Birthday

Last updated: December 2018

I was so excited to turn 25 years old. I was about to move across the country to start a new job that I was so excited about. This would bring me closer to family and close to the beach. What more could a girl ask for? This was going to be the best year ever.

Turning 25 and getting a diagnosis

I spent my 25th birthday in a car, traveling from Wyoming to Virginia so although it wasn’t the most exciting birthday, I didn’t care at all. I was looking forward to all the new changes coming my way. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and looking back, that’s quite an understatement.

Just 6 months later, I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting to talk to an oncologist. He walked in and told me I had cancer. I don’t remember anything about that appointment other than trying to persuade him that it might be something else. He reassured me that it was definitely cancer. The months before the diagnosis were filled with tests, fatigue, sickness, and so much stress. The months after the diagnosis were filled with chemotherapy and everything that comes along with it. With that said, my 25th year didn’t quite go as planned.

Turning 26 in chemotherapy

My 26th year wasn’t great either. I was in the heart of chemotherapy treatment so my 26th birthday was spent bald and sick. I will say that it was nice to hear the “all clear” a couple months after my 26th birthday, but life after cancer was a whole lot harder than I had expected it to be. My point in saying all this is that I’m due for a good birthday and I have a feeling year 27 will be the best one yet!

Turning 27 and challenging myself

I decided to do something crazy this year to celebrate it. Something I never thought I’d ever do… I will be running a half marathon not only on my birthday, but also less than one year after I finished chemo. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a new year of life and to prove that cancer didn’t win!

I also want to say that I am by no means a runner and some days, every step is a struggle. Getting through cancer gave me this new level of confidence, though, and although I may not finish with a great time, I know that I will finish. I needed to do something outside of my comfort zone to prove to myself that cancer can’t set me back. I’ve been training for this for about 7 weeks now and I’m able to run farther than I was before my cancer diagnosis!

My race is just around the corner and I can’t wait to cross that finish line. I just know it’ll be the best feeling ever. Don’t ever be afraid to try something that seems intimidating or scary. If you can live through a cancer diagnosis, you can do anything!

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