Anniversary Reflections

Today is an anniversary of sorts – Four years ago today I had surgery to remove a malignant tumor in my right breast – I don’t know quite how I feel about commemorating 

Diana Ulman - UCF Founding Member

this anniversary – Of course I am ecstatic for every day of my life – I am a survivor – I have such an incredible life full of awesome people and incredible opportunity – I am so very fortunate –

But commemorating this day brings up a plethora of emotions and concerns many of which I have tried to bury –

Today I find myself reflecting on a life long journey with cancer –
It has been a scary, enlightening, painful, empowering, sad and heartwarming journey –

I first remember being aware of cancer when I was in middle school  (it was junior high back then) – My grandfather was diagnosed with and died of cancer – Cancer was not talked about so much back then and in fact not much was really known about cancer in the late 50’s and early 60’s – Then I lost my grandmother to cancer when I was in high school – I loved both my grandparents very much and was so sad to lose them, however they were both aged and their deaths were not unexpected –

But when I was in college, my father died of leukemia – He was only 49 – He was my strength, my rock and my best friend, and I was devastated – He had to deal with this disease long before anyone knew enough to help him survive  it –
I did not know how to cope with his loss – And there was no one to guide me – And I didn’t have time to figure it all out anyway – I immediately became the head of my family at the age of nineteen and had family members to take care of – Some how I moved forward – I finished school – I married – I had children of my own –
When my youngest son was 19, cancer reared it’s ugly head again – He was told, “you have cancer” three separate times – The initial shock gave way to anger, fear and then determination – We dug in our heels resolved to leave no stone unturned and do whatever was needed to figure this cancer thing out – We got him through the medical crisis – Then we had to attack the emotional upheaval for him and for all of us – This journey led our family to a place we couldn’t have imagined – A place of reaching out to walk others through their cancer challenges – A place of raising the societal consciousness – A place of advocating for cancer survivors – A place of fighting so that each person diagnosed with cancer would have a chance to survive and live a full and fulfilled life of health and peace of mind – A place of working to prevent cancer so no one would have to face cancer in the future – a place of working to help people get the health care they need –
we rallied – we worked – we learned – we cried – we rejoiced – and we continued our journey-

We have since been hit twice more in our immediate family –
My husband heard those awful three words and he had surgery to remove his cancerous prostate –
And then four years ago today I had a malignant lump removed from my breast – I wasn’t surprised when I was told “you have cancer” – I expected that one day it would happen – And I certainly had been well prepared to deal – I had years of cancer experience – Way too much cancer experience –

As I commemorate this anniversary, I honor all my loved ones who faced cancer before me and all of those who will follow me on this journey – I honor all the incredible folks who are embracing those people facing a cancer challenge, holding them up and holding their hands as they take their cancer walk – I honor all the visionary people who are trying to change public policy, trying to prevent cancer, trying to get treatment to the people who need it and advocating for the entire cancer community – I honor all those with brilliant minds who are in the labs looking for answers and cures and new treatments – and I honor all of you in my life who have journeyed with me and supported me and celebrated with me –

Diana Ulman

About The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults

The Mission of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults is to enhance lives by supporting, educating and connecting young adults, and their loved ones, affected by cancer.
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2 Responses to Anniversary Reflections

  1. Jennifer Norton says:

    Thanks for posting this. I am very proud to represent Team Fight and your perspective certainly helps inspire me and my supporters!

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Anniversary Reflections | Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults' Blog --

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