I Stole a Year

Two days ago, May 30th, marked the one year anniversary of my re-diagnosis.  The day I learned that my cancer had metastasized to my spine and pelvic bones.

I threw myself a party.  A really cheap party. I invited friends to our local bar for happy hour and told them that my husband and I weren't paying for their drinks or food.  Just asked them to join us for a toast to the last 365 days.  How cheap and self-serving was that invitation?

Aside from saving money, and having decided on a whim to have this happy hour, there was a bit of superstitious logic (oh man, what an oxymoron!) to the "everyone-pays-for-themself" celebration.  I'll get to that.

When I was diagnosed the first time, I was texting my friend, Christine, frequently.  She was battling stage IV.  I was in warrior mode - "this shit isn't gonna take me down."  I had visions of coming out the other end of treatment and having the two of us throw a huge black tie bash to celebrate our cures. Christine passed away.  When my remission rolled around eight months after my diagnosis I realized that you quietly celebrate these milestones with a Facebook post and a text to friends and family. A big bash is a huge jinx.  Acknowledge the years as you survive them.  Keep the ballgowns and black ties in the closet.

I have dates ingrained in my brain.  Birthdays, anniversaries, deaths.  Two of my kids have November birthdays and the other is December, like mine.  Perhaps shitty parenting but I always have to stop to confirm in my brain their birthdates when filing medical forms and other applications.

Yet as a selfish human being, I know my dates.  Almost to the hour.

November 6, 2012 - Diagnosed with stage II B breast cancer.  (Ironically, my daughter's birthday, so I have that going for me!)
July 5, 2013 - Walked out of radiation and into remission
May 30, 2018 - Diagnosed with stage IV
May 30, 2019 - I had a cancer party!

Many in my family couldn't understand why I was telling them that May 30, 2019 was the one year anniversary of my stage IV diagnosis.  They felt it was a date to forget.  Others knew it was the anniversary and didn't acknowledge it until I pointed it out.  Some ignored my mention of it all together.

I get it.  All of their reactions and emotions.  I get it.  When you enter remission you're celebrating a clean bill of health.  Each year on that date you celebrate another year of clean health.  In our family, we would celebrate with a cake and my husband coined it my "remission-iversary."  I was blessed with four of those remission-iversaries.  They were always celebrated with fireworks because it was the day after the 4th of July.

The stage IV anniversary, well, why would you celebrate the day of a diagnosis?  It fucking sucked.  It put my life on another track.  It's a death sentence.  Doesn't it make more sense to burn stuff or punch things or scream on the anniversary of a stage IV diagnosis?


And let me tell you why.

I never held a party on any of my remission-iversaries.  As I said, a Facebook post and "high-five" texts with family.

As the first anniversary of my stage IV diagnosis (my husband needs a term for this) approached, internally I thought about celebrating the day.  I considered a celebration and then backed off the idea.  The fear of jinxing myself was so forefront.  Three days before the anniversary, I pulled the trigger and "planned" a party.

My family and some friends don't want to celebrate May 30, 2018.  Worst day of my life, if I'm honest.

But here's the thing.  The "thing" being the very reason to celebrate May 30th every year.

I just stole a year from cancer.

Truth be told, there's always the superstition in me.  I have stage IV, so it can't get any worse, but honestly, it could and can get worse.  So I threw myself a party, but technically I didn't.  I didn't buy anyone a drink or provide any food.  It was just a Thursday night with my friends on May 30th.

And on my way out, I stole a year.


  1. I’m looking forward to next year’s party💕

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