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Trying to Anticipate Spring…

Spring is here, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I’m certainly tired of cold temps and the color white, but on the other hand, I have all these upcoming dates, anniversaries and reminders marking my “cancer beginnings.”

I’m not entirely certain how I will feel when each one of these days arrives. And there are so darn many of them!

The word “anticipate” means to look forward to something pleasant and the opposite, of course, is dread, expecting something not so pleasant. So, maybe I have chosen the wrong title for this post because I know some of the days that lie ahead will not be pleasant. Some of the approaching dates I do actually dread.

But I am looking forward to warmer days and no snow. I am happy it’s not last year this time. I am happy to be finished with most treatment for now. I am happy my hair is slowly growing back. So maybe the word “anticipate” still fits. I want it to fit.

I want to anticipate Spring…

Many fellow bloggers have written about their cancerversaries, a word I had never even heard of before my diagnosis. (Actually, I’m not sure it is a word.) Some are at about the same place as me in their cancer experience. Some are way further out and some are still “behind” me.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many years “out” from cancer one gets, certain dates are forever etched into the mind and are eerie reminders of the fragility of our lives. I find this comforting because so many others understand where I’m coming from, but at the same time, it’s unsettling.

Sometimes, I just want to erase all the memories and forget. Sometimes, I want to believe cancer didn’t happen to me at all. Sometimes, I wish there was a magic “delete button” I could press to remove the cancer-heavy months from my life altogether.

Then again, sometimes I do want to remember. I want to remember all of it. After all, I’m still here.

My cancer “journey” began last April. It seems like only yesterday I was living a life without cancer. Then again, sometimes I can hardly remember my life without it.

I don’t like the term “cancer journey.” At all.

Going on a journey sounds like a pleasant undertaking. First of all, whenever I take a trip or journey (at least since being an adult) I get to decide where I’m going, what route to take, what I want to take along with me, who else is going, how long I’m staying and how I will get there and back.

If I don’t like my destination once I arrive, I can leave early or not stay at all. And usually part of the fun is in the journey itself.

Although fragments of a cancer journey may contain pleasant moments, a pleasant journey it is not! It’s certainly a journey I would NEVER have chosen to take.

On my “cancer journey” I don’t get to decide things as much as I’d like. In fact, sometimes it feels like I don’t know or get to decide much at all. I don’t know for sure exactly where I’m going or sometimes even if I’m headed in the right direction. I don’t know from one day to the next if I’ve “over packed or under packed.”

No matter what I call this path I’ve been stumbling along on for nearly a year now, it’s clearly been a detour from the path I thought I was on before my diagnosis.

I now look at things, people and events in terms of my cancer. Dear Hubby does too. It’s a thing we both do automatically now. Often we find ourselves saying to each other, “Well, was that before cancer or after?” Or Dear Hubby jokingly says, “Was that before your heart attack or after?”

Yep. Cancer has become our new point of reference.

Things either happened before cancer or after cancer. Even though I lived many years before my mother’s and then my own cancer, it still somehow feels as if there is more “stuff” on this side.

This is the side that is “weighted down.” This is the side that feels “heavy.”

Maybe someday things will feel in balance again.

I’ll keep you posted at all my stops along the way.

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Are you anticipating Spring?

How do you handle unpleasant anniversaries of any kind? 

How do you feel about calling cancer a journey?

 

Anticipating #spring #cancer #cancerdiagnosis

Anticipating this… my yard still has a lot of white!

Teresa

Wednesday 30th of March 2011

Oh, yeah, I always do the before cancer/ after cancer thinking. And since my cancer was conveniently diagnosed in early January 2009, I pretty much consider 2009 "the cancer year." As for the cancer journey, when I mentioned to my surgeon how much I hated that term because a journey should include a passport and sunny beaches and this one clearly did not, he said "you are right. It's not really a journey is it? It's more like Homer's Odyssey." So we've always called it my "Cancer Odyssey." Much more accurate.

Nancy

Wednesday 30th of March 2011

Teresa, Thanks for your thoughts here on the "before and after" thinking that automatically seems to happen. Cancer really does create a clear divide doesn't it? And "Cancer Odyssey," yes, much better.

Jan

Saturday 26th of March 2011

Nancy, what a great reflection of how things are: BC and AC (Before and after cancer). I find as time goes by (and I am 8 years away now from my recurrence)that I am forgetting more and more the "before cancer" experience. I'm living with my lymphedema and my cancer as a new, changed person, and it feels normal now to me. It's a matter of adjustment and healing over time.

I am anticipating spring, especially since we are having a very rough beginning of spring in the Sierra foothills this year. Spring will always signify renewal for me, and especially because I've survived cancer.

I like to call cancer a journey because the scenery changes over time and sometimes the road is rough and other times it smooths out. So I think naming it a journey is very appropriate.

Happy spring! Jan

Nancy

Sunday 27th of March 2011

Jan, Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I admire how you always remain so positive, I just don't care for the word journey, perhaps rough road trip is more suiting to me for now. Perhaps my perspective will change with time. I really am trying to anticipate spring, but I know parts of won't be easy. It just won't be.

Michelle

Wednesday 23rd of March 2011

Nancy, what a great great post!! I loved reading it - I hate the word 'journey' too, I've not met one person who refers to it fondly, I wonder who came up with that?! What a crock, lol.

But, like you, I remember every date (although, it's really not that long ago, it only started in January for me) - as you get further away, does it get easier? Does the thought of reoccurance still make you nauseated? I cannot imagine a day when I wake up and cancer will NOT be the first thing I think of :( I hear that you do get there eventually... I hope so.

Thinking of you this week as it all comes up for you, can't wait to read all about it :)

Nancy

Thursday 24th of March 2011

Michelle, So many of the labels annoy me, not even exactly sure why. I'm not that far out either really, so I don't know if it gets easier, hopefully it does. Actually, I try really hard to not even think about recurrence and most of the time I am successful, but still those thoughts do creep in on occasion. Thanks for reading and commenting, Michelle.

Maryann

Wednesday 23rd of March 2011

I have not yet had my "cancer anniversary" so everything still too fresh. I did receieve letter in te mail yesterday reminding me of a need to make an appt with my gyn-ob doc and my first thought was, this was how it all began last year. I am sure there will be some emotional moments as certain dates pass. Hoping time will make it easier.

Nancy

Friday 25th of March 2011

Maryann, Thank you for commenting. There probably will be many emotional moments ahead for you, too, as you remember how "it all began" last year. Good luck making your way through them all.

Betty

Wednesday 23rd of March 2011

In Colorado, Spring is 74 degrees one day and 40 derees below 70 the next. It keeps us guessing, just like life. I've never celebrated any of my cancer aniversaries. Never even given any thought to it. I do write on my calendar the last day of treatment,and the year ( Like I do for birthdays and anniversaries.) I try to treat myelf that day, If I remember to check the calendar! With age you are lucky to remember what you did yesterday! Ha Ha But I feel incredibly blessed to be this old. When I was in treatment I'd bring in treats on Halloween and any holiday close to my treaments for everyone in the waiting room and the nurses. Many of the waiting room people couldn't eat, but they all smiled and were very gracious for the effort. I could really relate to Lori and being "punched" by cancer. The important part is we may have been knocked down and around the ring, but we continued to get up and fight. Any reason to celebrate, I say clebrate! Nancy, I am so happy your hair is coming back in, that's something to really celebrate!

Nancy

Wednesday 23rd of March 2011

Betty, Thanks for commenting. Spring is pretty elusive around here too. It snowed overnight and it is lovely but... You're right, we need to find any reason to celebrate. And I know what you mean about remembering to check that calendar!

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