Do cancer survivors celebrate birthdays differently?


I've noticed an uptick in "Happy Birthday" commercials being aired by the American Cancer Society lately (check out Ricky Martin's video). What exactly is the campaign's intent? Is it to remind the millions of survivors among us that more people than ever before are surviving this disease? Is it to highlight the fact that while more of us are surviving, there is still much more work to be done? Perhaps it's a little of both.This most recent offering, with Ricky Martin happily thumping on a bongo, made me think to myself, "How have my birthdays changed since my diagnosis back in 1997?" Upon reflection, I decided that mine have changed significantly. Before cancer, I dreaded getting another year older. I didn't want to tell people how old I was. Today, I often forget how old I am. I have to subtract my birthyear from today's date to figure it out. I don't worry about or celebrate "years" anymore. I'm just happy to be here. Happy to have family and friends I love. Happy to have fulfilling work. Just plain happy to be alive and well.Have your birthdays changed since your diagnosis? Are you, like me, simply grateful to have another year under your belt? Have your feelings about your own mortality changed? Or, has nothing changed? I'd love to hear about the little things that have become an annual tradition- your special way of honoring the person you've become through your years of life experience.

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