The Dawn of a New Year and a Fresh Start

The New Year means different things to different people. I live in Scotland. December 31 is known as Hogmanay.

Historically Christmas day wasn't even a holiday in Scotland; however, New Year was a big celebration. Starting on Hogmanay and running through until January 2.

To this day, January 2 is a public holiday in Scotland.

A time for starting over

As you may have read in my earlier article, I absolutely love Christmas. I enjoy New Year.

New Year is a time for starting over, making resolutions if you choose, and a sense of a new beginning, but for me, Christmas and the holidays will always be my favorite. However, not everyone celebrates the start of a new year on January 1.

For example, the Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, occasionally falling in late January but usually in February. The Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah, takes place in September.

That said, away from the calendar first day of the year, January 1, I have another new year which is very important to me.

Days of significance

Most people going through a cancer diagnosis, followed by treatment and surgery, for sure, involuntarily in most cases, remember these significant days.

That day for me, is the day of my surgery - November 1, 2017, and November 1 annually. I go through a rollercoaster of emotions leading up to this day each year.


Firstly, in August, the anniversary of my first symptoms appearing, which after many investigative procedures, confirmed I had cancer.

Then comes the anniversary of my diagnosis in September. This brings the "before this date. I wasn't someone with cancer." It also brings back the awful memories of telling those closest to me of my diagnosis. Of course, due to the late-stage diagnosis, I for sure had the cancer for some time, but I didn't know it.

Then comes October, and the birthday I spent seriously ill in the hospital, 2 weeks before my major surgery. A birthday that I knew could be my last. I try to do something nice on my birthday each year to overwrite these memories.

Then comes November 1. All Saints Day, ironically. Many people reach out to me on this day to check in and see how I am.

To be honest, I am great. I awake each year on November 1, so grateful for the medical advances and the fabulous, highly skilled medical team who could carry out such a complex and specialist surgery, which saved my life.

I celebrate life

On this day, I celebrate life. The beginning of a new year. A year ahead of promise and hope. A day that will never lose its sparkle, long after the Christmas tree is dressed in December and the bright lights and decorations are put away in January.

This day is also my "stomaversary". A stomaversary is a term commonly used in the ostomy world to make the anniversary of the creation of someone's ostomy (stoma).

While the greatest significance of November 1 is the fact surgery was able to take place to save my life, it is my 2 ostomies, which allow me to be here, to be alive and to live a fulfilling life.

So you see, even if the end of the year is a hard time for you without a close one or because of a hard memory from a period of illness, you can have a fresh start and celebrate the dawn of a new year, any day you like.

Happy New Year!

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