Celebrating My First Cancer-Free Birthday

Celebrating My First Cancer-Free Birthday

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!

Comments

View Comments (7)
  • anette
    1 month ago

    Crystal, that’s awesome! I started to train for one after my husband was diagnosed. He was a life long runner, I was not. He was still recovering from chemo when I fell and broke my wrist. I couldn’t drive so he drove me to training. Team in training adopted him and convinced him to train for it too. We finished together in 2:30!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    3 weeks ago

    That is great! Cheers for 2019… Happy Running!

  • Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo moderator
    4 weeks ago

    That’s absolutely awesome @anette Are you planning to do the same for 2019?

  • anette
    4 weeks ago

    Yes, we also plan on running in Yosemite.

  • Anthony Carrone moderator
    4 weeks ago

    @anette – That’s so cool! I’ve always wanted to go there. I hope you have a great time 🙂 I’d love to hear a little about your trip when you get back! Sending positive vibes, Anthony.

  • Daniel Malito moderator
    1 month ago

    @crystal_hu I know you’ll cross that finish line both figuratively and literally, and it’s gonna feel great. So what you had to take a two year pause, you are ready to hit play again and it’s gonna be rockin.’ “…and another adventure begins” – something I say to myself any time something happens, good or bad, because it’s true. Another one begins for you. 🙂 Keep on running’ DPM

  • Mike Padjen
    1 month ago

    Crystal, what a great opportunity to show how resilient you are and how capable we can be. Thanks for sharing and best of luck. I see a sub 2 hour half in your future. Maybe not this one, but eventually.

  • Poll