It means different things to different people. For years, it meant being able to express my feelings verbally, having equal rights as a woman, living in a culture of respect. These were beautiful rights I was grateful to have.
This year, it means something completely different. This year, it's something I seeking: freedom from cancer. Even if they got it all in surgery, I don't think I am ready to declare victory quite yet. I still seek more.
I want freedom from my drains. There is nothing more irritating than having tubes sewn into your body. I feel like I look like I'm smuggling grenades around under my shirt like a terrorist or like I'm pregnant. Neither is making me feeling too good these days.
Freedom from the incessant "what ifs". I was always a relatively confidence person, never doubted my choices, never was afraid that things wouldn't work out, never pessimistic. The fear and the uncertainty is an unwelcome intruder. I need to find a way to get rid of that. I spend much quite time driving out defeatist thoughts, trying to remind myself that I am going to beat this, I am going to survive.
Freedom from my "new normal". I have heard do many survivors speak of this. It's not a place I like very much. I haven't made it my home yet.
Freedom from my sleeping restrictions. Oh, how I long to sleep in my bed on my stomach, instead of in a recliner. Sometimes, it's the little things I miss the most.
Freedom to move how I want without pain. Freedom to fully use my arms again. Freedom to drive a vehicle. Freedom to carry my little boy. Freedom to lay down with him at bedtime to help him fall to sleep. Freedom from being the subject of people's sympathy.
When I earn my freedoms, they will be much sweeter because this time it is something I am fighting for myself.
I am grateful to live in America: the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is the promised land, the place where miracles happen, the home of the best doctors in the world. I wonder if I can get fireworks for my survivor party. Seems appropriate.