|(Photo © TheBigCandMe)|
I guess I didn't write much in 2016!
That doesn't mean nothing happened this year. Quite the contrary. Plenty of good happened (and a bit of bad, too).
The short of it is, my health is good (knock on wood!), but my mind is distracted. I seem to have run out of time to write about it all. Much of the free time that I used to devote to cancer-related activities has been replaced with camera-related activities. And that is a welcome and grateful reprieve!
I have been busy photographing my dog Corrie for her Instagram page — yes, she has her own IG account, with far more followers than me! You can find her at @catchingupwithcorrie. I've also been traveling and chasing the view for my own Instagram account (@chasing_the_view).
I also try to keep up with my fellow blogging buddies, but in that regard I have fallen woefully behind. I haven't participated in the #BCSM Twitter chat in months!
I keep a running list of my fav cancer bloggers under the headline "RENN'S BIG C BLOGGING PALS" on the right side of my blog page. Recently I combed through the list and sadly had to move more bloggers over to the "IN MEMORIUM" heading. This happens. Every. Single. Year. Please remember Dee Sutter, Jody Schoger, Joyce Croker, Sherri Fillipo, Maria Fowler, Tami Boehmer. And too many others.
I also had an anniversary this year. (Notice I didn't say I celebrated an anniversary. I merely noticed one.) I hit my five-year anniversary post-cancer. My cancerversary.
SO WHAT'S A CANCERVERSARY?
The crux of all the celebrating that surrounds these "cancerversaries" is that we're happy to be alive after a cancer diagnosis. And we mark that time by counting the years post-diagnosis. This makes some people want to throw a party; others (like me) want to just curl up by the fire and forget the whole damn thing ever happened. (As if that were possible.)
A Cancerversary is marked at various times by each individual. Some people denote the date they first learned they had cancer (aka diagnosis date), while others mark their surgery date. Some people mark the milestone in meaningful ways; others choose to ignore it completely.
Like many others, I have mixed emotions about celebrating the day I learned I had cancer. (In my case, December 8th.) I don't feel like giving props to a moment that so drastically altered my life. (And yes, I was one of the unlucky ones whose doctor called them over the phone to tell them the news.) I do make note of February 3rd each year, though, because that is the day I got the cancer out. Though along with the cancer went my breasts. Again, not something I want to celebrate. But if I had to choose a cancerversary, that would be the one.
|(Courtesy American Cancer Society)|
Who lives and who doesn't post-cancer is a question for the ages and is anybody's guess. All we have are averages. At right is a chart from the American Cancer Society showing the average stats for breast cancer patients based on their stage and type of breast cancer at the time of diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer, and according to the chart I had a 93% chance of being alive five years after my diagnosis date. (Looking at it this way, I do have something to celebrate.) But I also had a 7% chance of not being alive at my five-year anniversary.
With some types of cancer, the longer you go disease-free, the better your odds of remaining that way. Not so with breast cancer, which can recur at any time.
It's important to remember that the percentages listed in this chart are just averages. Some people diagnosed at Stage 0, 1, 2 or 3 will die before five years have been reached because their cancer will have metastasized (i.e., spread to other parts of the body), while others who are diagnosed at Stage 4 defy the odds and live many years — 5, 10, 20+ years. It's a complex, complicated enigma, this cancer game.
SO WHO IS NED?
NED and I have been dancing together now for almost six years, and I would like our relationship to continue!
HAPPY NEW YEAR
And on that note, I wish you a very happy New Year, and strength to meet whatever it may bring. I appreciate you still stopping by to read these words, however infrequent. And I promise to blog more in 2017, to talk about hormonal therapy, the Breast Cancer Index test, compartmentalizing cancer and so much more that I have learned over these past six years.
Wishing you peace and love and warmth in this season of mixed emotions.