Celebrate with me!

Most of you have heard about the seven-year itch. Some of you knew me when I wrote about it seven years ago. I'm using the same words today as I did then with the addition of seven years of living! The only thing I wish I could change is the ending. How I would love to say that there is now a cure for cancer. Instead, I'll say that I'm grateful for the research that continues to allow me to, as Kathy LaTour so eloquently states, hitchhike treatments and buy more time. Today is my turn to experience a seven-year itch for the second time around, but again not for the reason many of you are thinking. Fourteen years have passed since my diagnosis with stage 4 colon cancer. To quote an age old song.... "what a long, strange trip it's been." The journey has been more than extraordinary. It has been a great learning experience, filled with twists and turns, miracles and wonderment, heartache and triumph. It has been interesting and fun while at the same time scary and challenging. From that one day has sprung an entire life vision and a flourishing new perception. In these 14 years I have learned to embrace the ALL of life, to savor each precious moment, and to accept with awe the transformation of every day in spite of the words terminal, incurable, and hopeless.The changes I've experienced with this disease have been abundant. Prognosis is better, yet there is much more work to be done in awareness, support and research. Only one approved treatment existed at my diagnosis. Since then Levamisole, Leucovorin, CPT-11, Oxaliplatin, Avastin, Erbitux, Vectibix, PTK-787, Iressa, Tarceva, Alimta, Regaforanib, RFA, cyberknife, gamma knife radiation, tomotherapy and SIR-Spheres have all been discovered - just to name a few. More are on the horizon. Vaccines are closer to reality. Medications for side effects, pain and fatigue have vastly improved. Hope lies around every corner. For me and for so many others waging war against colon cancer, it has been an incredible encounter with the development of medical technology and treatment options. The selfless dedication of so many tireless advocates has paved the path for awareness of an underpromoted disease. Survivors are changing physician's perspectives. Their leadership and championing effort have opened doors for support and compassion for all those affected. When you start something new you hope for the extreme, you pray for the best, you prepare for the worst, but you never really know if you will be successful...you can only hope. These individuals, along with the many caregivers and survivors touched by this disease, have spent every hour of every day fostering that hope.I have benefited from their diligent endeavor. I have discovered moving forward means sometimes moving in a direction that wasn't quite expected. Living involves finding miracles in circumstances that are less than miraculous, uncovering meaning in the meaningless, looking for sense in the senseless, and most importantly believing there is hope in the hopeless. Fourteen years of living fully in spite of cancer is a major milestone! May you each experience a seven year itch (more than once) with as much depth and significance as mine. Celebrate with me!