As 2011 came to an end, I found myself doing what most people do, reflecting on my year of life.

By: Robin Harry

As 2011 came to an end, I found myself doing what most people do, reflecting on my year of life. I found it very difficult to remember what life was before May 2011, before I started getting sick and found out I had lymphoma. Everything that happened before that sort of paled in comparison, really. But there were some good moments throughout the year, both pre and post cancer, a lot of lessons learned, things gained and lost. So maybe I can do a quick summary:

Thank You’s:
– Like a bad Oscar speech, I’m thanking God first. Without His providence and grace, I might have lost my cool at some point.
– My family has been amazingly supportive and concerned. We’ve all been through so much – there’s some strong stuff in our DNA.
– I have some really fantastic friends who were also super supportive and so thoughtful.
– I dare anyone to find more awesome coworkers than mine. It’s just not possible.

Not-So-Happy Moments:
– Getting diagnosed with lymphoma, the doctor’s appointments, and the chemotherapy/side-effects/CT scans that ensued. With that kind of perspective, nothing else seemed really bad that year 🙂

Awesome Moments:
– The Light The Night walk for blood cancers. Not only was that fun, it was for a great cause.
– Singing a duet with my friend in our gospel choir. That was so special; my choir means a lot to me, and the message of that song was important for me to share. I’m glad I was blessed with that chance.
– Meeting Josh Groban. He was really sweet, and well worth the snow bank my friend’s car ended up in that day.
– Meeting Jeff Davis (and the Whose line comedians). He was also really sweet, and made our meeting memorable.
– Finishing treatment for lymphoma. After 6 months, it was all done.

Things I’ve Learned:
– Nothing you ever learn about cancer can ever prepare you for living through it. But living one day at a time and looking for the silver linings always makes it a bit easier.
– I’m a pretty strong chick – stronger than I would have ever given myself credit for.
– Faith is a sometimes a gift, and I’m blessed to have it. In retrospect, life always makes more sense than it does in the present. So I continue to hold on to the hope that farther along, I’ll know all about it.
– People are unique and all handle adversity differently. The trick is not to handle disappointment in people with anger at them, and to be grateful for the people who made a difference.
– I love having a bald head. Except now that it’s cold. But I loved the look – even though I really don’t have half the attitude that came with it!

Incidental findings:
– Sharing my story on this blog was one of the best decisions I ever made. More than keeping people informed, it was a great way for me to sort my thoughts out. But even more importantly, I was so humbled to know that my story has helped others in some way, whether as an education or as a testimonial.
– I got a lot of free time to watch a lot of television (my brain was too fried for books). I discovered some really great shows: Community, Arrested Development, Firefly, Freaks & Geeks, Castle. Nathan Fillion is now one of my new favourite people. Ever. Good grief, he’s awesome…

So that’s my year in review. Here’s hoping 2012 brings more awesome moments, stronger faith, and good news all around. For me, and for all the friends and family that made 2011 just a little easier for me.


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