My Birthday Confession

    Today is my birthday and it is a special day for many reasons beyond the usual ones that one might think of.  You see, while most people are lamenting over birthdays due to the loss of their youth, I am counting my blessings and thanking God for every year that I get to be here to see my sons grow up.  While others keep their age a secret for fear of ridicule, I proudly wear my age as a testament of my strength and courage.

    Today is my 36th birthday and I am proud to say that I am a Survivor.  Yes, I know you all feel like you are survivors in your own ways but, you see, I am the other kind of survivor.  Yes, that kind.  Five years ago, I was diagnosed with CML.  Yes it’s a Cancer, yes it’s treatable, and no I am not dying.  CML stands for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and it is a blood malignancy.

    I’ve had this blog for over 2 years and I have struggled with writing this post for a long time.  There are many reasons for it including the fact that I believe some things are private and that I hate hearing “I’m sorry” as if I’m on my death bed or something.  The fact of the matter is that millions of people live with Cancer and many of them are younger than me as well as my age!

    The more I live with Cancer, the more I realize that it is a part of me that I cannot deny.  I’ve never wanted it to define me and I never wanted this blog’s focus to be about it.  However, the more you all share with me on this blog about your lives and your experiences, the more I realize that this exchange wouldn’t be authentic if I didn’t reveal all of me.  After all, what kind of a place would this be if I didn’t show you that we are all the same with hopes, fears, and personal struggles?

    So, happy birthday to me!  Here I am, over five years post diagnosis, loving, living,  laughing, and counting my blessings.  I am living proof that, no matter what curve balls life throws at you, you can persevere and survive.  As far as I’m concerned, I have a chronic condition that I have to live with forever just like a lot of people.

    Now, don’t go expecting me to become some kind of a poster child or anything.  That’s just not my style nor do I presume to have that kind of influence.  My hope is, though, that my story will inspire at least one person who is reading this blog and struggling with their health or has lost hope.  There is always hope and I am a living and breathing testament to that.

© 2012, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. Powerful post! Happy Belated Birthday y que cumplas muchos más. Hope you had a great day with your familia. Thank you so much for sharing your story… 🙂

  2. Monica- detroitmommy says

    Well, you know I’ve been following you for a long time now.. and I had no idea. Thank you for sharing and opening up a bit more. Happy Birthday to you!!

    • Hi, Monica. Yes, you have definitely been a follower from the very beginning! I am finding that it is getting easier and easier to open up here on this platform. Blogging is such an intimate thing in the sense that you really bond with your readers. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes.

  3. wow, I am so honored that you shared this with us. thank you for letting us in and trusting us with this deeply personal part of your life. You are one of the strongest women I know, and not because you are a survivor although I know that is a factor, but because of your amazing outlook on life and the positive energy you lead with in your work and in your life. There is this warrior energy about you, not in a fighting kind of way, but in a kick ass kind of way, a steady strength I admire in you.

    • Thank you, Stephanie. You have always had such a beautiful way with words. It is truly a pleasure to know you and work with you all of these years. It is heartwarming to see all of the things that you do to help women come into their own. You truly are a role model and inspiration to all of us.

  4. and happy birthday!!!!

  5. Inspiring…Happy Birthday!!!!

  6. alma pacheco says

    A very happy birthday to you. Thank you for sharing your story. You are truly an inspiration for your honesty. I dont live with an illness but you are my hero. Thank you reminding me to count my blessings and enjoy every day.

  7. Happy Belated!!! Thank YOU for sharing with us. You might not want to be a poster child, but you’re truly an inspiration!!!

  8. Happy Birthday, Maria! Here’s to many many more happy & healthy ones!

  9. Even though we’ve never formally met, I’ve known you for sometime now and we both share similar experiences. Birthdays are truly a blessing to us because we had to face our mortality early on in our lives. Some lament about getting older but we embrace it because we’re still alive and kicking!

    Happy Birthday, Maria ! Wishing you many more years of joy ! XOXO

  10. Happy Birthday! I’ve been following your blog for a while, and recently started my own. I am really inspired by the authenticity you displayed in this post, and I hope I get to the point where I can operate similarly. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  11. Happy birthday, hermana! You show every day what an amazing person you are. xoxo

  12. Happy Birthday to you ~ having gotten to “know” you as a survivor first, it has been such a pleasure to learn more about your life. I know how important family is to you, how you are a confident and amazing young woman, and that you stand up for what you believe in. That’s quite a lot to celebrate. 🙂

  13. LOVE YOU! Happy Birthday Maria! You are an amazing person 🙂

  14. Hmmm, you are who you are and we love that about you. I’m glad you wrote this. You know me and that whole “no coincidences” thing. You may not have thought you were a poster child but I know you can be an advocate. Stay strong and let’s get the word out.


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