I found out that I had cancer three years ago today.
Cancer survivors have reclaimed their most important dates as their cancerversaries. For some it’s the anniversary of their first major surgery, or the day they finished chemo, or the day their doctor declared them to be in remission.
I remember January 2, 2008, February 13, 2008, and July 14, 2010 — the dates of my thyroidectomy, first RAI treatment, and second RAI treatment, respectively — distinctly. But for me, there’s no date other than November 30, 2007. It’s the date — the moment, really — that divided my life into before and after.
Days like today force you to look back, and to look ahead.
When I started to think about it over the weekend, I got sad and frustrated. These have been three really long years — years for which we had plans that didn’t involve hospitals, and low-iodine diets, and nurses’ phone numbers on speed dial. I hate that my husband, and my parents, and my brother and sister, and pretty much everyone else who loves me, will worry every time I have a test. I hate that I will never be able to consider taking a job without first considering whether the associated health insurance will cover my $2,800 shots. I hate that cancer will always be lurking in the shadows.
But I can’t change any of that.
I can take my Synthroid religiously, and be an advocate for my treatment. I can take better care of myself — mind and body. I can spend time with the people I love, and doing things that matter to me and make me smile. I can count my blessings at the end of every day.
And when the fear and uncertainty creep up, I can pull on some body armor. So, yesterday, with all this weighing on me, that’s what I bought, in the form of a running headband and a t-shirt.
I thought about buying the t-shirt that read “Cancer picked the wrong bitch” (which you KNOW is true) but then I figured I might not be able to wear that every year on my cancerversary — which is exactly what I plan to do.