A Note From Patrick Betters

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A few years ago I promised myself that I would celebrate even the smallest milestones that I accomplish. I made this promise because I started getting really down during specific dates that revolved around cancer treatment. The day I got diagnosed was becoming a day I dreaded more than any other, and felt like the perfect day for cancer to say, “Hey, guess what, I’m back from vacation,” and send me into a relapse that would be the final chapter. I caught myself getting depressed, reliving moments that filled me with anxiety, and causing me to shut down every aspect of my life for a little while. So, I started small. I began celebrating waking up in the morning. My reinforcer, coffee. Then I celebrated finishing a test, not waiting until I found if I passed or failed, but finishing that test because that meant I was alive to do it. Then passing tests. Then getting through a doctors appointment. Then passing a class, no matter if the grade was a C or an A (C’s get degrees). And it caused me to start celebrating the cancer milestones. I decided to celebrate the anniversary of my diagnosis with my birthday – they’re three days apart – and my remission anniversary. On September 15, 2016, I turned 25 years old, and on September 18, 2016, I hit 10 years since the day I was diagnosed. On January 23, 2017, I hit 8 years of being cancer free. These days are important, and they should be celebrated. I made a promise that, at the very least, I would get ice cream on those days and celebrate that I not only made it another day, but another year. On those days, I reflect on the places I’ve been, the progress I’ve made, the things I’ve accomplished, and how hard it was to get there. And each year I renew that promise, that I will always remember where I came from, what I’ve been through, and where I am at this moment, because, without them, there would be nothing to celebrate. So today I celebrate another day of life, another opportunity to see the sunlight, and another chance to follow my dreams. Now, I challenge you to think; what do you have to celebrate today?

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