It's October 27th, 2016. I'm 39 years old today, and I've never seen anything that's described what my life has been like as a cancer survivor over the past few years in such few words, and with such a simple illustration as this. When I was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 33, I thought my life was over, and that I wasn't going to survive.
I fought like hell. The treatments knocked me down so hard that I thought I wasn't going to survive, but I survived. A brutal and highly invasive surgery resulted in a torn vena cava. I nearly bled out right in the operating room and never would have woken up again, but I survived. I had so many scares in my years after cancer - every strange ache and pain wasn't just an ache or pain anymore, it was my cancer that was coming back. I thought I wasn't going to survive, but I survived. Post-cancer depression and posttraumatic stress hit me hard. If cancer wasn't going to kill me, then all of the demons that it had clouded my mind with might very well have. I thought I wasn't going to survive, but I survived.
Cancer has challenged me in every possible way, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. In many ways, I did die, but only the weaker parts of me, the parts that weren't strong enough to handle life after cancer. In their place, other parts of me were allowed to grow, and have made me into a much stronger person today. Forget 40. Even turning 39 used to be a pipe dream for me. It's our last year of life as young adults and a huge milestone for any young adult cancer survivor, but here I am at this finish line, 5 years cancer free, and discharged from oncology care!
I didn't think I'd survive all this, but I survived.