Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Cancerversary...yay?

One year ago today, I received a phone call that changed not only my life, but the lives of people around me. One year ago today my doctor told me I had rectal cancer. And he didn't stop there. He laid it all on me, the radiation and chemo, the surgery, the ostomy, more chemo. At the time, of course, it was overwhelming, but looking back, I'm so glad he didn't mince words and make it pretty. It wasn't pretty and I don't think putting a bow on this package would have helped things at all.

So. A lot has happened over the past year. A friend recently asked me how I'm doing, emotionally. Mentally. Most of the time I just feel normal. When I really sit down and think about things, I still feel shell shocked. Sometimes I feel angry that this happened. Sometimes I feel peaceful. It seems the stew of emotions simmers away, and different feelings bubble up from time to time. I suspect that's normal. I'm proud that I was able to hold it together (most of the time) and get through what I needed to do to be healthy again.

I feel changed. If that makes sense.

In my life now, I'm trying to bounce back but with a twist. I'm trying to be more patient with people, more understanding. I'm trying to enjoy the minutes, hours, days. I'm trying not to let the little things get me down too much. Am I always successful? Of course not. Life is a work in progress, and I get to make mistakes too.

I'm trying to be open about my cancer and my ostomy and hoping that it helps others. I certainly can't tell people how to handle their own situations, but I can share how I handled mine. Or at times, how I didn't handle it. There were many tears of frustration, sadness, and loss this year. I mostly cried at night in the arms of my husband so I wouldn't upset my children, my family, my friends. It's okay to mourn the life I had before. But it's also okay to embrace the life I have now.

I got to meet some amazing people along this journey. My doctors. The wound ostomy care nurses. I found out that I have amazing friends, friends who are family. I found out the strength of people around me, strength of my family, strength of my husband. I saw the resiliency of my children.

So yeah. My cancerversary. I'm thankful that I get to wake up and enjoy life. I'm hopeful for the future, as scary as the unknown is sometimes.

Go give people you care about a big hug today. I know I will.


  1. Sheri, you are so awesome. I love how you have taken something painful and scary and turned it around by keeping a positive outlook. And I think you are right, that it is okay to mourn the life you had before. It's part of the process of moving forward and I enjoy being along for the ride as you continue to move forward from this.

  2. Cancerversary... funny! Congrats on making back to where you are in life. We continue to wish you and your family the best.
    Mike S.

  3. I love the term cancerversary, so......
    Happy Cancerversary and know that you will have many, many more.
    I love what you have done with your life, starting a whole new set of memories with your family in a great area of the country. You are just a short distance from a great weekend vacation whenever you decide to go. Dad and I love you and Eric, Reese and Eli so much, it is hard to put into words.

  4. Congratulations on your One Year Cancerversary! Sheri, leave it up to you to come up with a new term for a life changing day! You are so strong. You are so kind and thoughtful. You took care of yourself, let others help you and your family, and you all came out on the other side of this with a new perspective on our time on earth. I will give my loved ones a hug and those away from me a cyber-hug. God be with you.

  5. and Julie said... Happy Cancerversary!! I don't know how to express what I am feeling right now. I feel sad and happy at the same time. The tears are running down my cheeks as I write this. It has been a long and trying year. I feel stronger in my faith! I have prayed more this past year than I have my whole life!! I believe that God is taking care of you! I am happy that you are able to move on with your life and thankful that you have the best husband a girl could ever wish for. Continue to enjoy your family and make the most of everyday that you are on this earth!! We love you, Sheri!!! We are so proud to be your parents!! YOU are a great Mom, and a good wife, a great teacher! Big hugs to you and Eric, Reese and Eli!!! God be with you always! Love, Mom and Dad

  6. Happy belated cancerversary Sheri!!! I'm so happy you are doing well and living life to the fullest with your family! I love you all so much. You are in my thoughts and prayers!~

  7. Sorry I forgot to sign my name at the bottom of the last comment so you knew it was from me! lol.