Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy rebirthday!

I love birthdays. I think it's important to have one day of the year when you can celebrate your own existence. I'm lucky. I keep two birthdays, the day of my birth and the day of my rebirth. I'm not talking about a spiritual born-again experience, although there are ways in which this second birthday is quite spiritual. I'm talking about a second chance at life. And last week I celebrated my second 18th birthday.

When I was 26 (go ahead, do the math, I'll wait) I was diagnosed with a fairly rare malignancy. It showed up in the orbit of my left eye and was surgically removed. I was lucky. It's more likely to be a liver, bone or brain tumor and it's frequently recurrent with a high rate of metastasis. I get checked out regularly and, so far, I'm okay. I got to keep my eye and I have minimal visual effects from the surgery.

You don't have a disease like this without it having a significant impact on your life. It took me years to come to terms with the fact that I am a cancer survivor. Riding the Pan Mass Challenge helped immensely. It took me years to process this experience into story, which I have done with several short pieces and one long piece called From Terror to Triumph. And it will take me the rest of my life to live out the gift I have been given, this opportunity to say "yes," to the world.

I've written before about some of the things I've done with this time. I could certainly add to this list but I won't. Simply know that I have continued to live and, I hope, will continue to live for a good, long time. I will continue to celebrate my rebirthday and be grateful for the gifts of time and mindful living.

Next time we see each other, or if we meet for the first time, let's sit down. Tell me the story of your rebirthday. We all have at least one, more or less dramatic. Then let's eat cake or drink tea or lie on our backs and watch the clouds to celebrate. Because we are alive and that is very much worth proclaiming.

(c)2012 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Happy rebirthday I'm glad you get to celebrate it (I'm trying to say I'm glad you're alive in a witty way)


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