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5 Years.

Today marks 5 years since my breast cancer diagnosis! It seems like yesterday and yet, at the same time, it seems like forever ago...

As you can imagine, this date holds a lot of memories for me, both good and bad. And, as it approached, I knew I wanted to contact you with heartfelt gratitude for the role you played in cheering me on through the muck of it all.

I will never forget all the wonderful emails I received during those dark months. In fact, I've kept them all in a file, because some are just too precious to delete! I will never forget the gifts and meals that were brought to our home to lighten the load. I will never forget the anonymous, GIGANTIC basket full of goodies that was delivered to our doorstep before Thanksgiving! (I did finally figure out who sent it...hahaha!) I will never forget the phone calls, the flowers, the notes, the PRAYER that covered me and my family. I will never forget the dear friends who flew into town just to be with me...who came over just to rub my back when every inch of me was hurting from the chemo.

My sweet church family banded together and paid for several months of a housekeeper, so that I could rest comfortably in a clean home. Gift cards were given to us for restaurants so that we wouldn't have to think about meal preparation.

And, I will never forget the few special people who spent countless hours learning how to care for our little Claire who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a year and a half earlier...and then, they actually cared for her!...doing checks in the middle of the night so that Dan and I could rest.

Did I mention the friends who didn't say "call us if you need anything!"...instead, they actually called me..."have the kids ready by 9 am," they would say, "and they will be returned clean and ready for bed by 8 pm." No, I will never forget all of you.

It's been 5 years. Because this special date was coming up, I asked my oncologist about it at my last check in April. I asked her about the 5 year mark. When do we count the 5 year mark? Is it 5 years from diagnosis? 5 years from surgery? 5 years from the end of treatment? I was confused.

She told me that patients are always asking her that. And, medically it would be 5 years from the end of treatment, when bloodwork shows no evidence of disease.

"However," she said, "I think you should celebrate on June 8th."

: )

As I've contemplated this day, it dawned on me that my most sincere prayer has been and is being answered. I am here, raising my kids. Thank you, my dear Lord and my God!!

Claire was just 3 when I was diagnosed. Chase was 6. And Cole was 8. What a difference 5 years truly makes! We now have a teenager! Chase just turned 11. And Claire, the youngest is 8 years old.

I told my 11 year old that today is my anniversary. He looked puzzled. "Your wedding anniversary?" he asked. "I thought that's in July."

"Noooo," I said.

Without hesitation, he said, "oh, it's your breast cancer anniversary...your cancer-versary!"

"Yes. Yes, it is."

So that's what I'm doing. Celebrating. 5 years.

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