Editor’s Note: I realize that Christmas has come and gone, but some people, myself included, have overcome so much in our lives, whether it be addiction, cancer, depression, bipolar disorder, anorexia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or autism, and we have so much to be thankful for every day of our lives. So I’ve made it a point to celebrate CHRISTmas every day of the year because, without the love and grace of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ I would not be here today. Merry Christmas!!!
No Christmas Tree for Christmas
By Patti Murillo-Casa
Three years ago I was shocked beyond belief when my doctor gave me a cancer diagnosis. That particular moment is vivid in my mind, but the moments after the words “You have stage IIB cervical cancer” are a blur. It was mid November of 2008, right before the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
Needless to say after receiving such a diagnosis, I wasn’t in the spirit for any of the holidays. At the time everything went dark. I thought, Thanksgiving??? What do I have to give thanks for? For having cancer? I was forgetting the rest of the blessings around me. I was only focused on the words that I had just heard. I was giving up before I even started to fight back. For me, it was the beginning of the end.
I went into a cocoon, asking myself over and over, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” I did not want to see anyone, no family, no friends. That year there was no giving thanks for Thanksgiving, no Christmas tree or gifts for Christmas, no party or champagne cheers for the new year. What was the sense of doing all that if I felt uncertain about my life. I was facing my own mortality.
It took a while to gather my strength to get ready to fight back. I was fighting for my life. It was a long and difficult journey, but I won the battle. God gave me a second shot at life.
Now, I give thanks every day like if it was Thanksgiving, good or bad. I celebrate and see every day as a gift giving to me like if it was Christmas, and I live every day like if it was a New Year’s day. There is so much I want to do, and I don’t take anything for granted anymore. I see life differently now, and what seemed like a big thing before is not so big now. Life is good!!
Wishing everyone a very healthy New Year!!
About Patti Murillo-Casa
Patti Murillo-Casa is a cervical cancer survivor, who was diagnosed with stage IIB cervical cancer in 2008 shortly after retiring from the NYPD. She uses her personal story in the hopes that other women will avoid what she had to endure and not become a statistic. Presently serving as president of the New York City Chapter of Tamika and Friends, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about cervical cancer and its link to HPV. Follow Patti on Twitter and Facebook. For more information about cervical cancer awareness and other women’s health issues, visit Patti’s blogs, A New Camino-A Latina’s Journey Back from Cervical Cancer and The Voices of Two Mujeres.