Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
2020 has been a challenging year, especially for survivors and those with cancer, but you can look forward to the new year. You just have to imagine the possibilities.
Toward the end of every year, I treat myself to a new wall calendar.
I enjoy having a physical calendar that allows me to flip through the months. Many websites offer templates to help a person create a personalized calendar. The simple layouts allow ease of use for first-time users and more creative options for those more skilled.
The first year after receiving my diagnosis, every square on my personalized calendar was packed with appointments. I was thankful. It helped keep me on track reminding where I was to go and who I was to see. Without it, I’d have missed an appointment or two or may have scheduled overlapping appointments without realizing it.
When that year ended, I almost threw the calendar in the trash. I didn’t want to be reminded of the difficult surgery and treatments I’d endured. Instead, I tucked it in a dresser drawer.
Since that first year, I’ve kept every calendar as a way of not only remembering past events but also as a reminder of how far I’ve come.
The appointments have slowed since I was diagnosed six years ago, but I still have a few that dot the calendar.
This year though has been exceptionally tough for many with COVID-19 and although there have been challenges, I imagine there are those, like me, who hope for a better scenario next year.
So instead of designing my own calendar for next year, I opted for a pre-made one that is filled with beautiful scenery and has large squares on which to write.
As I sit and daydream about the places I could go and the things I could see, the calendar lies open on my desk. Staring at the empty pages, I wonder how long it will be before they’re filled with appointment reminders, but more than that, I wonder about the wonderful adventures just within my reach.
Time has taken on a new meaning since cancer came into my life. It has become more precious. I don’t want to waste a single minute.
I flip to the month of February and in red ink jot down the annual checkup with my oncologist. Immediately after that entry, I flip through the pages to the month of July and make a long red line through two weeks’ worth of squares. Above the line, I write one word, Iceland.
It’s hard to believe I agreed to participate in a travel excursion so far away from home, but cancer has also made me brave. My grown children use the phrase “YOLO” often. The first time I heard it, I wasn’t sure what it means, but now I know. It means you only live once— and I’ve adopted it as my motto.
The calendar seems to scream, “Imagine the possibilities!” And before I know it, I find myself doing just that. The beautiful photos from around the world remind me I’ve much to see and do before I depart this earth.
Cancer used to dictate how I lead my life, but not anymore.
Imagine the possibilities! Where would you go and what would you do if you were brave enough to step out in faith?
A calendar doesn’t necessarily need to include trips around the world. Perhaps your possibility is small, like a trip to a neighborhood park or a visit to a nearby city. Whatever it may be, schedule it and follow through. Without a plan, you plan to fail.
The calendar should contain more enjoyable events than ones you will dread.
Imagine the possibilities, because a new year is ahead!