On a personal note: My daughter Jerusha, five years old in the photo here, went with me to many of my chemo treatments, including one on her sixth birthday. Today she is a fabulous 24-year-old freelance editor, and this summer, she donated bone marrow to a six-year-old child with leukemia through a national anonymous bone marrow registry. I can't begin to express how proud of her I am.
(For more information on how you can help someone with a life-threatening blood cancer, visit Be The Match.)
Of all the songs that spoke to me during the journey of my own cancer experience (and the continuing journey of survivorship) is this anthem from Gloria Estefan. The first time I heard it, I was weeping in the ladies room at my oncologist's office, and perhaps it sounds melodramatic, but by the end of the song, I had changed. I had let go of an old life that was not working for me and embraced a new life that has been ridiculously blessed. To this day, I can't hear it without crying.
For me, "Always Tomorrow" captures all the longing and regret I felt with my diagnosis, thinking how differently I would have lived had I known my life might end so soon. It also speaks to the hope and determination to go forward and the acceptance that remission doesn't mean everything is okay, and it definitely doesn't mean "back to normal."
Things will never be the same, the only one sure thing is change. Remission means you have this moment to start over again and steer that change with love.
Peace, love and joy to all my fellow survivors, along with the energy to embrace a beautiful tomorrow.