I had to celebrate my 39th birthday with you, but you will not be at my 40th birthday bash next year. I plan to celebrate life and not you.
We have known each other for a very long time, since I was 19. I remember my mom calling me and saying you had come to visit her. Back then, I didn't know who you were,what you were capable of, or how to stop you. I thank God for giving her the strength to fight you.
I could not forgive or forget, like a thief in the night, when you stole something so dear and precious to me -- my mother. For two years, I fell into a dark abyss, consumed by grief, guilt and anger. In my warped mind, I blamed myself for her death. Thoughts swarmed in my head -- the what ifs, the I should have dones, the if I had knowns. Then you had the nerve to show up at my doorstep last year. How dare you, after all you've done.
But this time is different. I am older and wiser, and have a team to support me -- my family, friends and my personal army at MD Anderson. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Going through this journey with you, Cancer, has taught me a lot. I can't consider you a friend yet, but you have created a fire inside me that I am thankful for. I learned to let go of the negative thoughts I had pushed deep down inside myself and to release the emotions that were harming me physically. I will not let you have the last dance. No, sir.
God has given me a second chance at life, and I plan to enjoy every moment of it. I will no longer put my life on hold to be happy some day. I will stress no more over things I can't control and instead will celebrate by living my life to the fullest.
"Wish It, Want It, Do It" is my new motto. I will step out of my comfort zone and venture on the other side. I know there will be bumps along the way in life, but as long as I am able to see the sunrise and smell the fresh air, I can overcome anything -- and that means you.
So, Cancer, I will keep you close, and my army at MD Anderson is here to make sure they keep a watchful eye on you. I promise to do my part to prevent Cancer and help others learn how to stop you, too.
Yesterday, I did something that shows my strength, too. I made a video about my story and posted it on YouTube to let the world know who you really are and share my plans for the future. I don't have superpowers, but fueled with passion and action, I will help others take back control and knock out cancer.
Even though I don't have superpowers, I did throw on my superwoman cape to become an advocate for fertility and other women with cancer. I will inspire hope in those affected by cancer that are facing the financial and emotional challenges of saving the chance to have a baby. This injustice has to stop. We fight to live, and we will fight to give life in the future. Cancer, you will not rob us of that.
I want to help others, but I also want to help myself lead a healthier life so I can lower the chances of you coming back.
And, if you ever decide to show up again, I'll be ready. I will put on my battle gear, grab my sword, and FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
Your "Cancer Avenger," Gail Morse