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Tiptoeing Through Survivorship

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s now been three years since my breast cancer diagnosis. It’s been three years since the shit hit the fan, or to put it more delicately, since the dominoes starting toppling.

Actually, the domino effect began in 2004 when my mother was diagnosed, but there are only so many dominoes one can keep track of, right?

This year the exact date (April 29th) came and went very quietly. I’ve since been waiting for some profound words to pop into my head that I could eagerly share with you, but so far, nothing much is coming to me…

Where the heck is the great life lesson anyway?

This year I didn’t talk about that day; in fact, I didn’t even mention it in passing to dear hubby (and I don’t think he remembered, which, by the way,  is just fine with me). I’m not even entirely sure why I didn’t bring it up.

Did I think about my diagnosis this year on that date?

You bet I did, but I did so by myself.

It’s almost like I’m tiptoeing around now – trying to walk quietly through survivorship.

I’m sure this is partly because this is what’s now expected of me. I’m supposed to move on. I’m supposed to be done. I have and I am; sort of. But I will never be done. For more thoughts on why many who are diagnosed with breast cancer feel they are never done, read this post by friend and fellow blogger, Beth Gainer – Calling the Shots.

Will I feel less apprehensive when I reach four years out, then five, then dare I say it, ten or more?

Probably; at least I hope so.

But this is Cancer Land.

My mother’s cancer recurred at 3.75 years post her diagnosis. Maybe this is why I tiptoe.

My friend and fellow blogger Jody, of Women With Cancer, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer merely days ago – fifteen years after her initial diagnosis. Yes, I said fifteen years! Maybe this is why I tiptoe.

Approximately 155,000 Americans are presently living with metastatic breast cancer and some 70,000 more are being “inducted” into this community every year. This is despite so much focus on awareness and all the pink hoopla. Maybe this is why I tiptoe.

There are still roughly 40,000 deaths due to metastatic breast cancer annually in the United States alone and close to half a million world-wide. Maybe this is why I tiptoe.

I do not live in fear.

I will not live in fear.

While it’s certainly true, each minute that passes since that day means there is more distance between then and now; admittedly, it’s also true that I still feel more than a bit wounded. I still live with the reality things can change in an instant.

Really, we all do though, right? Cancer or no cancer, life offers no guarantees to anyone.

I am more than content and very grateful to keep on tiptoeing.

Have you noticed a domino effect since your diagnosis?

Do you ever feel as if you are “tiptoeing through survivorship”?

 

I’d much rather just be tiptoeing through the tulips…

 

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Elizabeth J.

Monday 5th of August 2013

Tip-toeing is right! After almost a year of treatment, everyone was celebrating that I was cancer-free. Except for my "little hot-flash pill," that I was to take for 5 years, and lots of check-ups, I was done! Yeah, sure! First checkup of 2013, something was wrong with a blood marker, here came all the testing again, then radiation for mets on my spine, then adding a monthly injection to the femara. Plus, even if this next PET scan is NED, it will be assumed I am at risk for it popping up again in my bones forever. Treatment of some kind will continue and continue. So? What am I? Am I a survivor? That implies to me that treatment is over. It isn't, although right now it is at a pretty low level. I know that might change at any checkup. I wonder about any new odd pain or symptom. I want to be able to put all this cancer stuff behind me. I want to just be a normal mom and grandma.

Nancy

Monday 5th of August 2013

Elizabeth, Tiptoeing seems to fit. That's how I feel anyway. Too bad a person can never truly feel as if they've stomped out the cancer beast for good. All we can do is live and enjoy life in the moment while remaining vigilant too. Thanks for commenting.

The Other Other Language of Cancer | anotheronewiththecancer

Thursday 23rd of May 2013

[...] was a great post some time ago on Nancy’s Point called Tiptoeing Through Survivorship which, in conjunction with some other random posts made me think about a small aspect of living in [...]

Cancer Curmudgeon

Sunday 5th of May 2013

Tip-toeing is a good way to put it, I think. I've been contemplating the language in cancer lately--not the dumb things said to cancer patients, and not even the battle language--but the words survivor, remission and cure, and my convoluted relationship with those words. Once I muddle through it in my mind (and figure out exactly what is troubling me), I'll try to post about it.

Nancy

Monday 6th of May 2013

Cancer Curmudgeon, I'm looking forward to your post! Thanks for stopping by.

Weekly Round Up – The Cancer Is Never Done With You Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Sunday 5th of May 2013

[...] it was;  Renn’s list of 9 of her favorite metastatic breast cancer bloggers,  Beth and Nancy on why we are never done with [...]

EAK13

Sunday 5th of May 2013

Nancy when I was diagnosed had the surgery finished the Chemo I asked my Onc to give me the facts. Being that I had multiple tumours that were malignant Lets not forget the botched Pathology letting my breast decompose over a weekend. He told me that being the way things are Most with this type has 4 good years a 5th a bonus so in passing 4 until I get past the 5 year mark I will be on my tip toes! Alli....

Nancy

Sunday 5th of May 2013

Alli, Wow, that must have been disturbing to hear. I'm sort of surprised a doctor would say something like that. I don't blame you for feeling anxious. Tiptoe on through with the rest of us I guess... Thanks for sharing, Alli.

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