|Celebrating my birthday a few years ago.|
How has melanoma changed the way you think about birthdays?
"I'm one of these that loves to celebrate every birthday, small and simply, but celebrate nonetheless. Until melanoma I celebrated on the day (Sept 3rd) and on my half birthday (yes, I celebrate March 3rd, too). NOW, everyday is my birthday. I just don't add a year to my age with each passing day though. I've become cognizant that I really am not guaranteed to see another Sept 3rd, so I relish each one I do see, but more than that, I've come to appreciate each new day like I never did BC. And every day is a new gift to be opened and enjoyed. So, I have lots of birthdays and lots of presents. Even on those days when they aren't the "best of days." I know a new day is coming. Melanoma changed my attitudes about a lot of things!" -Rev. Carol Taylor, Stage IIIb melanoma survivor from Attitude of Gratitude
"In August 2003, shortly after I turned 50, I was told I wouldn't see Christmas. Every subsequent birthday has been a gift. I turned 59 last month, and have every intention of becoming a Social Security and Medicare on the next generation. I've paid for the Social Security and Medicare benefits of the WW II generation. Now it's YOUR turn!" -Rich McDonald, Stage IIIc melanoma survivor from Welcome to The Hotel Melanoma
"Cancer has changed everything. At first my goals were 3 months at a time (of course I was told I had 6-12 months to live and I was told on my 50th birthday so it's even more special). Every birthday of my kids, and family was such a gift. Making it to my 51st was incredible, you appreciate everyday. There's a saying, "I look forward to getting old, so many of my friends did not have this opportunity," and its so true. I know how very blessed I am to be here. Really everyday is my birthday." -Mark Williams, Stage IV melanoma survivor
"Cancer has CERTAINLY change the way I feel about birthdays. I relish every one of them!!! I guess I've felt that way for a while because my brother died at 49 so I've had perspective since I was 34 but after cancer is totally different! Every birthday is a gift from GOD. I feel that way with not only my birthday but with my kids birthdays. They were on 12 and 14 when I was diagnosed so each birthday they reach is a huge achievement. I need to be here for them so every birthday they have is one more year I was blessed to be in their lives!!!!" -Diane Melius, melanoma survivor
"Cancer has definitely changed the way I view birthdays. I used to have a love/hate relationship with my birthday after my 18th. I felt like I wasn't where I needed to be at that particular moment. I was scared of becoming 'old' because I felt like life was rushing by! How was I really turning 23 when I wasn't engaged and entering the career I always wanted? Then I got that diagnosis and thought, 'I may not live to blow 30 candles off my cake.' Fear. That's what I felt in those moments (and still today!). I can't tell you how many people joke with me, 'Getting old is no fun!' or 'Don't get old!' Now, I politely smile and say, 'It's better than the alternative.' So many people do not have the privilege to grow older. I consider it a blessing. Truly." -Chelsea Price, Stage III melanoma survivor from Adventures With My Enemy... Melanoma
"I've always loved birthdays and have never dreaded getting a year older. I was happy to turn 30- I was married and pregnant with my first child, so life was great! My 33 birthday, however, was a blur. I had been diagnosed with Melanoma 3 months earlier and was living in a fog. I couldn't think about the future because I was not sure I would be in it. Thankfully, by my 34 birthday was much different. I had a new appreciation for the year that had passed and looked forward to the year ahead. I was once again planning for a future and living each day more joyfully because I knew it was a blessing. So, to sum it up, while I have always loved birthdays, I now treasure each one. Another year older? Heck yeah!!" -Anne Stokes Bowman, Stage Ib melanoma survivor
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