Just Another Date

December 10, 2012

December 10, 2003.

There are details about that day that I can never forget. Like the way I sat in the haematologist’s office staring at the stupid little animal ornaments on his desk. Like the crooked angle of his polka-dot bow tie. Like the way he waffled on about diseases and then BAM!  The words kicked me in the guts and set my body shaking. I can never forget asking him, Am I going to die?

December 10. Every year it comes around.

I wonder if I ever will forget that date. Even if I try to pretend it’s just another date, at the back of my mind I remember it’s ‘that day’ – the day I was told I had leukaemia.

I carry dates around like sentimental fool, like birthdays or wedding anniversaries. But there’s nothing sentimental about this date. So why have I carried it with me? I imagine it might be like how people remember the death of a loved one. A death anniversary. Etched like a pesky splinter under the skin.

On December 10, 2003 a part of me died. It was the death of innocence and simplicity. I wrote about it much more eloquently in a post earlier this year, called Before and After.

Maybe it’s not so bad to remember the date. It reminds me of how fragile we are. It reminds me of how random life is. Your luck could turn on a dime.

There is another date I will never forget: January 21, 2004. It was the day I was told I was in complete remission. The day I knew I would live.

Without December 10, January 21 would be meaningless. I can’t have one without the other. And I will always celebrate January 21 like its the biggest party on earth. Being alive is a gift. Sweeter with the second chance.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicky December 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm

The sub conscious is a strange thing. There are dates in my life that my physical body remembers as they approach before my head catches up. Every single year. Good thing is that I’m recognising it quicker, and consequently soothe myself sooner. And see the other side of the coin.
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm

That is so interesting, Vicky.. I’m sure our bodies are one step ahead of our minds. I’m sure mine is screaming at my mind all the time. Must learn to listen to it more. Love that you’re learning to soothe yourself and learn. Such great insight as always my dear. x

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Debyl1 December 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Sharing your Dec 10th is a reminder to us all how precious life is and yes …that it can all change in a split second.
Your incredible journey shows us all that we can find a strength in us when we need to.
Your Jan 21st proves to us we can be winners and that you are our inspiration.
Thankyou universe for Jan 21st 2004 and giving us back someone special who has so much to offer and who makes a difference in this world.xx

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Deb January 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Hi Debbie! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It’s taken me awhile to process all the comments on this post. Your encouraging words are so very touching. x

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Sharon @ Funken Wagnel December 10, 2012 at 9:26 pm

And today you remind us all how precious life is, which is a gift to all of us. I can’t even imagine how it must have been and still be for you, but of course, an experience like that will change you forever. So glad the 21st of January happened, my dear!
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Thanks Sharon. Really appreciate you saying so! xx

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Carli December 11, 2012 at 8:48 am

I’m so pleased there is a January 21. I will drink to you that day Deb x
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Thanks Carli. I’ll join you. xx

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Karen December 11, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I imagine these dates both carry weight, although in different ways. Somehow after reading this I don’t think I will forget your December 10 either, it’s a reminder to live life while it’s in our hands. Take care. x
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Thanks Karen. xx

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Grace December 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I’ll be joining you in the celebrations on January 21, Deb. Your journey reminds me to enjoy and relish every single moment of what life has to offer. Sending you big hugs xxx
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Thank you Grace. xx

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Kelly December 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Love this Deb, and all the meaning behind it. I’ve been thinking a lot about life recently, and how fragile it is. Ever since my mum died, I’ve lived more fully and with more abandon. And it’s posts like these that remind me to keep doing it. xxxx
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Hi Kelly, I often wonder if there is a way we can be ‘reminded’ of life’s fragility without having to experience it first hand. I wish ‘the perspective’ didn’t come at a price – like with you losing your mum (I’m so sorry for your loss). Yes, I want to live life more fully too. I;m trying to see this as a positive thing to come out of it. xx

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Elisa {With Grace & Eve} December 14, 2012 at 7:46 am

So powerful. Maybe you remember the date as a sign of how strong you are, and how far you have come? Thank you for sharing this post. You write beautifully. Elisa x
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Hi Elisa, thank you for your lovely comment. It’s taken me awhile to reply to all the comments on this post because it was such a hard post to write. xx

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Lee December 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Thank goodness 10 Dec has passed and we have 21 Jan to look forward to! Love you you dear friend. xx
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Thank you Lee! Lots of love coming right back to you. xx

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Danya Banya December 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Uncertainty is usually such a terrible burden. With employment for example. We usually like to know what’s coming, so we can plan accordingly. But death is one area where the opposite is the case. Congratulations on embracing uncertainty once again. :)
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Thank you Danya. x

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Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit December 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

I completely understand how you must be feeling. My Mum was diagnosed with AML when she was just 37 (I was 14). She was given 2 weeks – 2 years to live. After three years of chemo (on and off) and an autologist (spelling?) bone marrow transplant she is still alive today 25 years later. While I was not the one to suffer the disease it changed the way I view life forever. Her too. In her mid 60s she is the one to climb mountains (real and metaphoric), dig water wells in remote island villages, travel the earth to be with loved ones and pack in as much as she can to each and every day. Yep. Leukemia changed her. In a good way. And as a result it changes how I view my every day.
Congratulations on getting through the 10 Decembers and for celebrating the January 21s.
And thanks for sharing.
Your story is a great reminder ….
Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Wow, Leanne. What a story – and thanks for sharing it with me. Your mum is an inspiration! I’m so glad her life has changed you (for the better) too. I do wonder how my daughter will view me (and the impact of leukaemia on my life) in years to come. Thank you SO much for telling me your perspective. xx

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Kirsty @ My Home Truths January 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I think it’s good to embrace all the milestones of our lives, both the good and the bad. It’s necessary for acceptance and to be able to move forward. I’m glad you are now able to commemorate both dates as there wouldn’t be one without the other. I will definitely be thinking of you on January 21!
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Deb January 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Absolutely, Kirsty. I’d rather acknowledge the grief associated with it, rather than sweep it away. I’m sure it’s the only way to move through it. Thank you so much for reading yet another post! xx

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