So many reasons to celebrate #4yearcancerversary #boardcertified #DisneyWorld #HakunaMatata

Since my last update, I have had many things to celebrate. First and foremost, I turned 4 (in cancer years) on December 17th! This year, we celebrated in Turks and Caicos (Avery’s choice!) and were able to get some much needed time away. As I reflect on the past 4 years, it’s been an incredible and unexpected journey. Initially there were a lot of ups and downs, but now it’s been much smoother and for that I’m grateful. I know there will be some rocky paths in the future (hopefully way in the future), but for now I’m happy to continue on the same treatment with minimal hiccups.

Another big thing to celebrate: CLEAR SCANS! I made my quarterly trek to Charlottesville to visit my oncologist after the New Year where I got the all clear. One of the things that this disease has best taught me can be summarized in one of my favorite quotes: Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift! That is why it is called the present. Every visit makes me realize what a gift I’ve been given to have 3 months of worry-free living after each of these scans.

And living I have done! Since my last update, we had 4 holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years x2) and went on 3 trips. My in-laws moved to Richmond in 2021 and my parents came down so this holiday season was the first year in a long time that we didn’t have to make the arduous journey up I-95 to Northern Virginia to visit family. It always feels great to be able to celebrate another holiday season with loved ones.

In addition to our Turks and Caicos trip, I was able to celebrate two “firsts”. I went to my first NASCAR race at the Daytona 500 and to Disney World for the first time EVER! Disney World was every bit as magical as I had imagined, and even though it took 34 years, I’m glad I was able to share it with my daughter. It was incredible seeing her face light up from all of her favorite Disney princesses. Even better, it was the 50th year anniversary celebration – the world’s most MAGICAL celebration!

Perhaps the icing on top of the cake of all the celebrations, I took and PASSED the final part of the the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) certification exam. Talk about magical, I found out in Disney World that I passed my exam and officially became a board certified oral and facial surgeon!

I’m so fortunate and thankful to have been given the opportunity to experience all of these events. Four years ago, I would have never thought it was possible, but thanks to cancer research I’ve been given a second chance. I’m still crossing my fingers for a cure so I can continue to have these wonderful life experiences and achievements. Until then, I’m just going to keep enjoying the present.