Monday, October 11, 2004
Celebrate Life
Many, many months ago I had a planned that this last weekend would be a wild weekend spent out of town ringing in my 40th birthday. Well, my plans didn't exactly work out as planned, but I'm not disappointed or upset. Plans are underway for a birthday "re-do" sometime in the spring (a 40 1/2 bash?) and I think that will be an even bigger celebration, because I will be mostly done with the reconstruction phase and so much of this will be behind me. I will be able to celebrate a clean slate and a new beginning.

When I awoke this morning I couldn't help but feel older. The aches and pains, the stiffness in the joints, the dry skin, the hair loss . . . getting older is rough! Oh wait, that was from the chemo! It wasn't a case of "40 and fabulous?" but more like a case of "40 and fabulous!!!" (emphasis on the exclamation!). I know those side effects will go away and I will be stronger for having gone through this.

So even on my birthday when I woke up feeling sore, achy, and old; and when the morning news seemed dark and fraught with all that is wrong in this world, I still see so many blessings surround me:
  • I am blessed by the kindness of strangers who smile, hold the door, or who hug me when my chemo session is over.
  • I understand more than ever the value of family and the amazing bonds we all embrace whole heartedly.
  • I am grateful for my extended family separated by geography, but not separated at heart.
  • I realize that I need more than my ten fingers and ten toes to count all of my amazing friends who are supporting me so generously through this journey.
  • I am grateful for each card, email, phone call, or message of encouragement. Hope lives in each of these messages.
  • I am grateful for each sunrise and the fact that I have now experienced 14,600 of them.
  • And I am most grateful for the grace of God through which I have gained strength, determination, courage, and hope.

Yes, celebrate life indeed.

Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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