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Cancerversary: My story, Your Story, Our Story

Dr. Lala .A.

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This is to all cancer survivors out there, their family, loved ones and friends. This is a milestone only we can define.
A Cancerversary is a milestone defined by you. It might be the day that a loved one was diagnosed. It might be your last day of treatment. It might even be several important dates that occur throughout someone’s cancer journey. Whether it’s a date that you celebrate or a time simply to reflect, Cancerversary is about survivorship – living with, through, and beyond cancer.
Some people remember because they can’t forget. For many, life is never the same again, and so a cancer anniversary, or cancerversary, is a very special date. It’s a highly individual thing, so nobody gets to tell a survivor how he or she should observe it.

Ways to Observe
As Karen Raymaakers, a certified oncology nurse, aptly points out, there is never a bad time to celebrate cancer survivorship. According to her, here are some ways to celebrate a ‘cancerversary’
Take a hike and stop to smell the surroundings
Go outside and BREATHE the air
Spend the day with the person or people you love most
Join a survivor’s celebration walk
Organize a ‘twitter storm’ to raise awareness for cancer
Make a hope mural
Every year, on your cancerversary, buy an expensive bottle of champagne and toast to life.

Observing Someone Else’s Cancerversary
You don’t have to be a cancer survivor to get involved in a cancerversary. Observing a friend’s cancerversary might have even more meaning for that friend than remembering his or her birthday. A card might be a good start. Happy Cancerversary cards are available on Amazon.
There may be a mix of emotions on a cancer anniversary–some gratitude, but also some fear of recurrence and perhaps a recollection of grief and other difficult emotions. Be ready to celebrate, but also be ready to support.

Celebrating Life with Cancer
Some cancers do not yet have “cures” in the sense that current therapies only seem to keep cancer down for a few months, or a year at a time. For individuals with these kinds of cancer, it is common for survivors to receive multiple rounds of treatment just to give them more time here with us. Even when the future is uncertain, or when carrying the burden of unwelcome certainty, patients, their loved ones and communities can cherish and honor life to its very end.
What’s your Cancerversary?

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Dr. Lala .A. is a graduate of University of Ilorin who also holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering. She is an MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria) certified doctor who aspires to be a plastic surgeon involved in creating awareness about women's rights and responsibilities and also training would be surgeons. She is a proud member of various reputable bodies including the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI). She loves to read, write, sleep and play the drums in her spare time.