As you read this we are hiking in the Allegheney Forest in west Pennyslvania. Hoping for sunny, mild autumn weather. As I said Friday, we will be celebrating an important anniversary of Tish’s birth.
We cancer survivor’s have own own anniversaries, called cancerversaries. If you lucky and had a marrow transplant, you even get to have an actual extra birthday. So today I want to republish a post by Charicie Steuble, a thyroid cancer survivor two years out. She writes at Charlcie
First, what is a cancerversary? Some say it is the day you were diagnosed. Some say it is the day you get the “all clear” from cancer. I subscribe to the “day you were diagnosed” theory to mark my cancerversary, especially since I’m still not “all clear”…but that’s another story.
Note I didn’t say “celebrate” my cancerversary. Of course, I don’t want to celebrate having cancer. However, thyroid cancer changed my life so I have to take note of it.
It was good to read my blog post marking my one-year cancerversary in 2009, reminding me of the journey. I am also feeling guilty for feeling different, a bit darker, even jaded, about it all.
I’m a survivor now, right? Well, not really. Remember, I’m one “those patients” in my endocrinologist’s practice that he’s got to keep a close eye on.
Even if it comes back again, I’ve had the surgery (times two). I’ve had the treatment. I can do it again, right? Yes, but I don’t want to. End of it. Sick of it. It was an emotional and physical recovery I don’t want to experience again.
“You should feel happy. It’s over!” OK, first, please don’t tell me how to feel. Literally no one has lived my life and walked in my shoes. Second, it doesn’t feel over. Thyroid cancer keeps hanging around me.
I don’t have a “more serious” cancer. This is true…or is it? What’s a more serious cancer? Are we going to have a “cancer-off” to determine whose cancer is worse or better?
I’m tired of feeling guilty about still thinking about it. I’m tired of feeling guilty because I don’t think about it. I’m tired of feeling guilty for wanting to blow off my doctors’ appointment and scans and just ignore it for a while. I’m tired of putting on a happy face about it when I don’t feel happy about it. I’m happy about other things in my life but not thyroid cancer.
Several of you who have read my blog have contacted me or commented to say that my blog has helped you with your own fight with thyroid cancer. I feel guilty this post may not be so helpful to most.
But one thing I have tried to be is honest. Maybe someone reading this feels similar to me, and that will make it useful to someone…so they don’t feel so alone, and selfishly, so I don’t have to feel guilty about this too.
And I think it is OK to be angry at cancer at times. Get it out. Don’t hold it in…but then move on. I’m planning on moving on sometime soon, just not sure when, but I know it will pass. I have too much hope, too many joyful things in my life.
So it’s my 2nd cancerversary. I’m OK with it. Just let me be a little angry at the cancer. I’ll be fine…really.