I'm Happy, and I am Alive

"As I look to 2017, I am setting goals that remind me of how far I've come."
Acute Myeloid Leukemia Survivor
Friday, December 30, 2016 - 2:03pm

As a child, I was often told, "Time flies when you're having fun." As an adult, I can now say that this statement is true whether you are having fun or not! Each passing year confirms this more than the last. Life goes by far too quickly!

During a recent visit to Roswell Park, I bumped into an employee who reminded me that last year at this time I was in the hospital receiving treatment and working toward completion. It made me pause to consider what I had done to get where I am today — a place that I never imagined I would be. I am alive, I am happy, I am a survivor.

When 2016 knocked on my door, I was looking forward to a year without cancer. With my final round of chemo in the rearview mirror, I outlined some goals for 2016. But I was inevitably filled with worry and concern. Thoughts of chemo, transfusions, masks, PICC lines, precautionary medicine and relapse filled my mind. I was unable to develop a vision for putting one foot in front of the other and returning to the life I knew before cancer.

But with help from my family and friends, I eventually reached a new normal, and a life that was so much greater than I planned or could have imagined. During the celebration of a dear friend’s life, I remembered his life motto: “I’m happy, and I am alive.” Those words have helped to silence the worry and concern of a relapse, and the fear I have of being without constant medical supervision.

So, as I look to 2017, I am setting new goals that remind me of how far I've come. Some are simple, and some are complex, but all are focused on having fun, being happy and celebrating life.

For those of you struggling to see past the negatives you are facing today, know that you can and will get through it. I hope you will take a moment to write down what you want your 2017 to be. And whether you are in the middle of treatment, completing treatment, or newly diagnosed, trust that you will get to a place where you can say, “I'm happy, and I am alive.”