The Year I Didn’t Die

Reckoning With Cancer—and Survival—at 21

Was it a mistake? An information packet for the Revlon Run/Walk for Women, a 5K race to increase awareness of women’s cancers, had arrived in the mail. Affixed to my bib, the numbered badge every runner wears, was a small sticker with the following:

Jennifer Lee
BIB # 37672
T-shirt: small
Women Empowered

My eyes kept darting back to “Survivor.” Yes, I vaguely recalled answering some questions about having had cancer when I registered for the run. But I hadn’t asked for this.

I have since tried to disentangle what I was …