It was a big day, and, it was a bigger deal than I could ever have imagined.
10/13/16 marked my 5 year cancer free anniversary.
(A quick “google” showed me that the establishing of this date is arbitrary. I chose the date of surgery. 10/13/11.)
Many of you know I celebrate this with a post on the day each year. This year was different.
The day before, in a conversation with my mom, I mentioned that my anniversary was the next day, she said congratulations. When we spoke the next day, THE DAY, she didn’t say a word. It shouldn’t have made a difference, but it did.
Maybe in the years that I’ve been blogging, somewhere, somehow, I shared that for all intents and purposes I’ve gone through the last 5 years of this alone. I don’t mind being alone, but there are times when I mind being lonely. This day, this year, was one of them.
That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been moments of connecting with others. On the first year anniversary I did a blog radio interview with Curvy. (I wish I had a copy of that podcast, I’d like to hear today what I said back then!)
But the 5 year mark, that all important date, I didn’t realize how much of a cloud over my head it had been. It was there, always, not ignored, but not exactly talked about either. As if it would be a jinx to mention it too many times. So,” you” follow your treatments, you have your exams, you wait and then you mark one more year off, somewhere.
The day came and went in silence. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to think about it, to acknowledge the overwhelming feeling of pain, that I started to get a glimpse of what that anniversary does to a person.
There were times I cried so hard I could not breathe, then I’d calm down and think I was ok, only to be hit with another wave. Finally, I calmed down enough to function, but there was no denying that this date is monumental.
I have not allowed myself to “think” about my reaction, I still feel very vulnerable. The tears are just under the surface.
But there is one thing that did come to mind. I’m sure I’m not the only person in this type of situation. Alone, mostly. My visits to the hospital and my doctor are not as frequent as they were in the beginning. But if a hospital/Dr.’s office were to implement a routine where 5 year survivors are called and congratulated on their anniversary, that would be amazing. I think it would go a long way in helping a person deal with the tension, stress, and fear that have been haunting a person for the past 5 years. The never gone from the mind, “Am I going to make it?” question that plagues us all.
With that being said, I want to say
to all 5 year survivors out there.