Welp, another birthday is in the books.  I am THIRTY-FIVE years old now. (How is that even possible?!)

I recently read the post that I wrote for my birthday last year and decided to add to it, for tradition’s sake.  AND to show how much life can change (and remain the same) after two years.

Two years ago, I treated myself to a long shower for my birthday.  Last year, I did the same thing.  Today I rushed through my shower while Mr. Blue Eyes watched the littles during his lunch break.

Two years ago, I found a tumor next to my nipple while showering.  Last year, I checked out the stretch marks on the incisions where my nipples used to be.  Today I rubbed my finger over a weird spot on my still-healing nipple skin graft to feel if it had closed up any more.

Two years ago, I shaved my legs without hesitation.  Last year, I shaved sitting down because chemo and other meds had caused my achy body to belie my 34 years.  Today I skipped shaving because my recent dive back into exercising after a post-surgery hiatus has left me too sore to bother.

Two years ago, I shivered in a towel as I called my OB/GYN immediately after my shower.  Last year, I lingered in my towel while I waited for a hot flash to pass.  Today I let my body air dry as I bandaged up my chest for (hopefully) one of the last few times.

Two years ago, I put on a big sweatshirt to disguise my baby weight.  Last year, I was able to find a forgiving top from my post-mastectomy wardrobe to hide my chemo/menopause weight.  Today I put on one of my new outfits that I recently bought to celebrate the loss of ALL 30 pounds of my cancer weight and the completion of my new boobs. 

Two years ago, I cried in fear over the lump in my breast.  Last year, my tears fell frequently in order to express a surprising number of emotions – – the most important of those being gratitude.  Today was another roller coaster of emotions:

Feeling OVERWHELMING GRATITUDE that I am still alive.

Reliving the CRIPPLING FEAR from the moment I found my tumor exactly two years ago today, which then opened a floodgate of memories from the scariest time of my life.

Taking moments for REFLECTION and, heck….PRIDE in thinking of how far I’ve come since my breast cancer diagnosis.

Feeling a bit of GUILT, wondering if I am making the most of the days I’ve been given.

And frequently tucking away the NAGGING WORRY that I am not done with cancer.

Luckily I was able to hit the brakes on my roller coaster for a few moments today and savor the fact that I have made it one more year.  For the past 365 days:

I have laughed.

I have cried.

I have loved.

I have survived.

I.  Have.  Lived.

Here’s to 365 more!

Birthday 2016
birthday 2017

If you’re interested in reading more about my cancer experience, head on over to this page.  A condensed version is in the works!  If you know me personally and reading details about my nipples and breasts will make it awkward for you to make eye contact with me in the supermarket, feel free to wait on the abridgment.  🙂