It’s been exactly four years since I heard those words, you have cancer. Actually, the words I heard were, you have ‘a’ cancer. I’ve always wondered about that little ‘a’ inserted into the conversation I had on the phone with ‘a’ doctor that spring day four years ago… Yes, ‘a’ doctor delivered the news, not ‘my’ doctor; another little ‘a’ sneaking in there…
As I’ve written about many times, there are lots of reminder dates that pop out on the calendar for me each year. There are my mother’s dates too, so between the two of us, there get to be quite a few.
Do I mark them all? Lord, no. But some of them, many of them even, you bet I do.
How could I not?
Marking cancerversaries is something we all feel differently about; no surprise there, right?
Some people mark all of them; some mark just the biggies. Some don’t mark any, or so they say. Some people celebrate dates they finished up this treatment or that treatment. Again, some do not. Some people mark each year post diagnosis, sort of like adding to a “years of survival chain” I suppose. Some go out to eat, or even throw parties. Some people talk and share, others keep silent.
A few days ago, Dear Hubby was asking me about my upcoming cancerversary dates. He remembers the two big ones, diagnosis day and bilateral mastectomy day. He doesn’t really remember the others, the dates I mean.
It was very touching and telling to me when he said, “Yes I remember that one” (bilateral day). I didn’t ask him to elaborate on his comment; I didn’t need to. I’ve been thinking lately more about that day and how it must have felt from his vantage point…
Dear Hubby then went on to ask me if I wanted to do anything special to mark any of the days this year.
“No, I said, “I don’t.”
Around my first cancerversary, we did. We took some time and “disappeared” for a bit at the Florida coast. It was wonderfully freeing just to be somewhere else where no one knew anything about us.
Since then, I don’t mark cancerversary dates out loud, with others anyway. I might mention this date or that date to Dear Hubby, but that’s it. I mark dates privately now. And of course, I still mark many of them here with you, my dear readers.
After a certain amount of time passes you’re expected to not talk cancer much anymore. Remembering dates, out loud anyway, becomes awkward for those listening.
Admittedly, some dates are slowly becoming a bit fuzzier in my mind; the dates, not the memories of what happened on them. Big difference. But some days will now always be “marked” days. And that day four years ago when I got the call, well, that’s certainly one of them.
So yes, I do mark cancerversaries, but I do so quietly now and this is okay with me. Perhaps it’s even as it should be.
What about you?
Do you mark any of your cancerversaries and if so, how do you do it and do you mark them “loudly or quietly”?