My 34th birthday was not my favorite. I felt old (I know, it's all relative). A month earlier, my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and I was dealing with the huge fear that I would lose her. So I wasn't really excited about celebrating.
Then a month later, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Talk about putting things into perspective. When I received my diagnosis, I had no idea what it really meant. Would I have to go through chemo and lose my hair? Would I die? I was at a total loss, completely unmoored. I began the cancer journey: finding a GYN oncologist, having a biopsy, determining a treatment plan.
All things considered, I was incredibly lucky. My oncologist originally staged me at 1a1. After my cone biopsy, he changed my staging to 1b1 - the cancer was more advanced than he had thought. He recommended a radical hysterectomy, and on June 16, 2014, I had surgery. He removed everything except for my ovaries - he didn't want to put me into early menopause because I was so young. In addition to removing my uterus and cervix, he took samples from my vaginal wall, and 26 lymph nodes. Testing on all the tissue removed showed no cancer aside from what was in my cervix. No further treatment was needed.
When I think back now to how distressed I was about turning 34, I feel ridiculous. If it weren't for luck, that could have been my last birthday ever.
I cherish my birthday now, because it means I'm still here. I make a big, goofy deal about it. I spend the day doing what I want. This year, I wore a "Birthday Girl" shirt, and a crown.
My darling husband, Jeff, and I went and got pedicures. My sweet nail technician, Lana, got me a beautiful bouquet of pink roses!After pedicures, I went to Sephora to have my makeup done. Nothing like being pampered on your birthday!
We went to dinner at the Palm, and it was wonderful.
And because I have two sets of amazing parents, I get to celebrate twice more!
I am incredibly blessed. Three years ago was the scariest time in my life. Thank god I was able to beat cancer, and I have many, many more birthdays to look forward to. No matter how old I get, I will always be grateful for those trips around the sun.