Do you have certain dates etched into your mind that always take you back? Some dates represent good memories and some, like cancer-reminder trigger dates, do not. What do you do with your cancer-reminder trigger dates?
Cancer-reminder trigger dates might be your finding a lump day, biopsy day, diagnosis day, first oncology appointment day, lumpectomy/mastectomy day, start of chemo or radiation day, and a host of others as well, depending on your particular experience.
Do you hesitate to mention your cancer-reminder trigger dates to others and sometimes feel a little guilty for even thinking about them?
After all, that was then. This is now. You know, that whole notion of don’t look back, you’re not going that way.
I’m pretty sure most cancer patients have cancer-reminder trigger dates, trigger months or trigger times of year. I know I do. Every single month holds reminder dates for me.
Between my own cancer-reminder trigger dates and my mother’s, there are a lot of dates, a lot of triggers, a lot of things to remember.
Yes, even my birthday is a cancer-reminder trigger date. And yes, I remember.
How could I not?
Sometimes, I wonder why it’s so easy for me to remember certain cancer dates and so hard to remember what the title of the last movie I saw was.
Our memories work overtime sometimes. Other times, it might be a struggle to remember what you had for dinner last night.
Here’s an example of my memory on overdrive.
My bilateral mastectomy trigger date is filled with countless recollections. I remember the sound of my alarm. That “last” shower. The final look in the mirror. (And it’s weird, I can’t remember what that reflection looked like anymore.) The heading-out-the-door conversation with Dear Hubby. What I was wearing. The darkness. The dimly-lit parking ramp. The couple who walked in just ahead of us. My thoughts about said couple. The pre-op routine. The chaplain’s visit. Dear Hubby’s tears. Being wheeled off. The temp of the OR. My anesthesiologist’s kind eyes. And more.
Yeah, that particular cancer-reminder trigger date triggers a lot of memories.
No matter how much time passes, that month, that date on the calendar will always take me back. My mind involuntarily replays the scene.
And that’s just one of many cancer-reminder trigger dates that result in the same.
What I’m wondering about “out loud” in this post is, what do YOU generally do with your cancer-reminder trigger dates?
Do you talk about them or keep them to yourself?
Do you try to forget or do you try to remember?
At times, do you feel judged for remembering cancer-reminder trigger dates at all?
Do you even judge yourself for remembering?
The mind is such a mystery. In more ways than one.
Memories can be wonderful. But sometimes they are not. Both kinds influence the sort of person you have become. They’re part of you; in some ways, they are you.
This doesn’t mean cancer, or any other memory event, defines you. But they sure become part of your definition. At least this is the case for me.
I do know this: you are allowed to mark your cancer-reminder trigger dates whatever way you choose, including not marking them at all.
For the most part, I mark my cancer-reminder triggers dates quietly now. This is as it should be. Sometimes, I do it here in this space as well. (Thank you, Dear Readers.)
Those closest to us don’t have to remember, or even understand, everything we’ve been through. Expecting them to isn’t even fair. After all, our loved ones have their own trigger dates, some cancer related, many that are not.
Accepting us, loving us, and just being there are enough.
Accepting and loving yourself matters even more, no matter what type or how many trigger dates (of any kind) you have.
What are a couple of your cancer-reminder trigger dates?
What do you do with your cancer-reminder trigger dates?
Do have other trigger dates (not cancer related) that you’d like to share about?
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