Auspicious days . . . are days filled with the promise of hope. Good days; promising days. Days where good things can happen, and in fact, are likely to happen.

For me, February 4 is an auspicious day. It was the day, back in 2009, that I walked out of the cancer center . . . finished with my chemo regimen for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

People commemorate their cancer journeys on various days. The day of diagnosis. Port day. The first day of treatment. Surgery. The day of promising results. For me, although I know the dates for all of those steps along the way (except surgery, which I didn’t have), the day I commemorate and celebrate is . . . February 4. The end of chemo; the end of treatment.

Over the years, I have acknowledged and celebrated February 4 in various ways. It’s a big anniversary for me, and I always like to mark the day in some way. This year, I let the day approach without planning anything special, with minimal thought. In fact, it was Tom who reminded ME of the date on Sunday morning! Without his acknowledgement, I might have let the day completely slip away with little fanfare or acknowledgement.

Which . . . is really something.

Back in earlier days, I could never have imagined I’d have even one day where I didn’t think about cancer-and-would-it-come-back. And I certainly wouldn’t have believed that I’d let a February 4 go by without some sort of celebration. But, here we are! 15 years later . . . and life has clearly settled. I’ve learned to live; to move on. But even if I didn’t commemorate my end-of-chemo anniversary with something special this year – and even though I don’t think about a possible recurrence every day anymore – it’s not like I’ve just . . . forgotten. I’d say that it’s more that I’ve . . . incorporated my cancer experience and treatment into who I am and how I live my life now. There isn’t a day that goes by . . . that I’m not grateful to have these “bonus years” (which is how I think of my life, post-diagnosis).

February 4 is still an auspicious day for me. It always will be. I’m just more quiet about it now. It’s more . . . personal.

This year, I sat in the sunshine on my patio and watched the birds at my feeders for a while. This has been a particularly dreary winter here in Michigan. Even though it’s been freakishly warm with very little snow, the sun has been markedly . . . absent. (Like no sunny days since November. . . ) But on February 4 . . . we had a full day of sunshine. And it was a wonderful way for me to commemorate my day – my auspicious day . . . with hope and promise.

Which feels . . . just right.

“To say that I’m healed, uh, would be to imply that there’s an endpoint. And I think healing is something that we all do, that we’ll all continually do, for the rest of our lives.”
   — Suleika Jaouad