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My Transplant Birthday

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaMarch 17, 2021View more posts from Jennifer Anand

I’m sitting here crying at 8AM on a Wednesday morning, and I don’t even know why.

Wait…I kinda do. Tomorrow’s my 8-yr transplant birthday. WOW! I should be so excited! Eight years is terrific!! Celebrate life! Do something big! Enjoy all the things!! Congratulations!!

But it’s hard. Eight years means eight years of loosing so. many. cancer. friends.

Yesterday was Sam’s birthday. Yet another year without him around… do I have a right to celebrate?

I should be ecstatic. I’m alive, eight years longer than I thought I would be. And I’m very grateful.

But I’m weary. Not tired, which can be fixed with sleep and a mountain dew. But the weariness of plodding along…. eight years later. Waking up every morning, stiff and often in pain. Reading my cancer-induced insulin pump blood sugar numbers. Putting on my cancer-induced Estrogen hormone patch because my ovaries have failed. Working my job, no matter how tired I am, so I can have decent health insurance.

I know some reading this are in the mets/terminal fam. And don’t get me wrong- I’m insanely grateful for my life, and realize the privileged position I’m in. But sometimes I’m drained.

I was surprised with an adventure day, in a fun super sporty flashy red car rental. But at the end of the day, I was so exhausted I couldn’t even lift my arms. I love trying new restaurants and foods. But my body still revolts against me. I adore surprises. But it’s hard, because I need to budget and allocate my energy.

A friend’s IG post prominently read MBC, for Mentor Brewing Company. My first thought was only of metastatic breast cancer.

There are good things. I’m finally feeling the shift from living on a month-to-month basis to actually planning for the long-term. For the first time ever, I wrote down career goals. I’m reviewing my finances to actually think about retiring. In the nearer future, I’m actually thinking about getting married.

But today- right now. I’m feeling very overwhelmed with just surviving life.

But also-right now. I’m grateful for the people cancer has brought me. All of you, dear readers. And the incredible E&T community that I’d never known otherwise. And my wonderful nurse Ceci, and all the incredible health care professionals at my hospital. The caring people in my community through The Gathering Place and the Parkside Church Cancer Group.

I’m grateful for the people that stuck with me these eight years. My incredible siblings and parents and adoptive grandparents.

The people who have loved me on this hard journey of processing and *trying* to recover from the trauma- friends who have come alongside me in this life, and most importantly- stayed.

So here’s to the next year, one more undeserved year of life. I don’t know what new diagnosis and meds and trauma it will bring, but I know I’ll still have the people in my life who care for me.

And so, as @thecancerpatient always tell us to do, I will eat cake!

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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