The I in LIFE

Last week, I celebrated my one-year “cancerversary”, or what I now fondly call my “Life Day”.  The idea stemmed from a conversation with my therapist. I had mentioned that my one-year diagnosis day was coming up and she asked me if I was going to do anything with that day. I sat for a bit, pondering the thought of what that meant. Do I dare “celebrate” such a grim event in my life? But then I also thought, perhaps I could turn that day into a positive milestone instead of being sad and hide from it. And so the idea was born to own the day and use it as a time to reflect on the past year, how far I’ve come, how good I feel, and to be thankful that I am still here. My real birthday is in February and ironically enough, I spent it sick in bed. So this was a do-over, a re-birth day.

The preparations were in place for a fun-filled BBQ with all of our NY friends. I envisioned balloons, cake, plenty of food and drinks.  I thought about how the party would look and so I ordered balloons that spelled out the word LIFE, to of course commemorate that which we were celebrating. I thought they would be the focal point of the party and the best prop for photos on the roof. The day of the party came and I found a store nearby that could fill my balloons with helium. They were perfect. So home I went envisioning the complete look of my party.


I was getting ready while Larry and some of his coworkers helped with the set up, including balloon decor. All was well until I got a text saying: “The wind is too strong. The E got blown away 😕”. No, not the E! I was disappointed but figured we could still salvage the vision with the LIF. Some friends then walked into the apartment and reported that the F had also flown away. “Noo…it’s been barely 10 minutes. I haven’t even gotten a photo with them!” I ran to the roof and indeed confirmed that only the L and I were there, barely hanging on. I got some tape and re-enforced the string, thinking that would be enough. As I stepped away to admire my work, a strong gust of wind took with it the letters L and I as well. “Nooooo!” A friend was able to run after the I and managed to catch it while the L drifted off into the blue sky. He handed it to me and in that moment, we couldn’t help but notice the irony that we managed to save the I in LIFE. I was left. LFE flew away, but I was still here.


I was sad for a second, but Larry quickly reassured me that I still had the rest of the party left, with or without balloons. And not more than ten minutes later, another friend walked in with a huge bouquet of pink balloons that more than made up for the missing gold balloons.


As the party carried on through the night, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we danced, we had fun. I even had a boobie-shaped cake baked especially for me!

And that pretty much summed up the past year: as much as I thought I had control over life, as much as I tried to manipulate situations to go my way, sometimes the wind blows things toward the direction they’re supposed to go. Perhaps it was a symbol that my past life flew away, but I am still here. Perhaps I had to go with the flow and trust that my big bouquet of pink balloons is just a lost gold balloon away. And that’s ok. I am ok. ❤️


4 thoughts on “The I in LIFE

  1. This was beautiful, Andrea Maranan Guinto. You need to write a book girl! Lighting a candle for your Life Day from San Diego.


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