Friday, December 7, 2012


Some things never change.

A year ago, I was dreading my first "cancerversary" and so relieved to find my feelings surrounding the date did not reach epic proportion (as I feared they would).

It's now been two years since I got "the call." And I've spent even less time thinking about my "cancerversary" this year than I did last year. Turns out December 8th — the day after the day that will live in infamy — still holds no charge for me. 
Yes, it's been two years since I learned I had cancer. But it's also been five years since I lost my father to mesothelioma, the asbestos cancer he likely acquired while serving in the U.S. Navy during WWII. Rather than rewrite history, I'll save a few minutes (OK, hours) and repost what I typed in this space one year ago. 

Instead of spending time blogging, I'll be spending the day with my mom, doing Christmasy type things, like decorating the tree. (Well, I'll be decorating the tree. She'll watch. So will my husband. Some things never change — and for that I am grateful.)

Here's my post from December 8th, 2011...

(Copyright © 2013 The Big C and Me)
I have really been dreading this day. All last week (the past few weeks, really), I have been marking each day by saying to myself, At this time LAST year, you still were naive to what was about to change your life. On this date a year ago, you had a mammogram but you weren't worried. On this day, you had a biopsy but you were still in the fog of denial.

Then yesterday landed. The 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Historic for two reasons: It also happens to be the anniversary of my father's death. 

He served in the South Pacific during WWII; so Pearl Harbor Day is a very apropos date for him to have departed this earth. He has been gone four years. It is hard to fathom.

I spent the day with my mother, wrapping Christmas presents. My father loved Christmastime; and so did I (it was a day I could count on him being in a good mood). But more than that, it was the one day a year that my siblings and I were indulged. We were not a family of means, but you would never know it by the present-laden floor beneath the tree on my childhood Christmas mornings. 

Wrapping gifts seemed like an appropriate way to honor him and spend time with my mom, who shared a few stories I had never heard before about my Dad. It was a good day. We lit a Yahrzeit candle, a new tradition I find comforting and applicable to all faiths. You can buy them in the grocery store for a dollar. You light them on the eve of a relative's death. They burn for 24 hours. Anytime we walked into the kitchen, there was the candle, a flaming reminder of a wonderful life.

But in the back of my mind yesterday, the thought of what today would bring was looming very large. I knew today was going to feel worse than yesterday. Because today is the one-year anniversary of the day I found out I had cancer. And I was afraid this date would even eclipse my father's death.

That's how it felt yesterday, anyway.

I am happy to report that upon awakening this morning, I found that this day and this date holds no such power over me. I have spend countless minutes (I would rather not add them up into hours) worrying about how December 8, 2011 was going to feel. But Pearl Harbor Day will forever be more important. I don't even have a desire to take a hike to my favorite spot where I go to reflect on things like this. It's weird; it's a complete nonevent.

At least I know now. I won't be weighing myself down with these imaginary, doomsday-like projections in the future. Today is the first of many remarkable anniversaries that I'll be acknowledging as time marches on. Each will probably feel different. But I'm not gonna worry about how it might feel until it gets here.

I'm tired of wasting my time on things that don't deserve my limited energy and laser focus. Things that are hallow. Things that aren't real. Things that don't matter. Things that don't care back.

Gonna flip it around and turn my energy on me. I could use a little of my own precious natural resources.

And that is how I am heading into my next "cancerversary": 
Happy Anniversary to me.


  1. I am glad you don't let a day control how you feel, that is not always easy! I hope you had a fun day with your mom instead:)

  2. are admired & loved

  3. Hi Renn! As you know we were diagnosed on almost exactly the same day. December 8 was my second cancerversary. Two years ago on that date I had my first round of biopsies and got "the call" late that afternoon/early evening. I also was expecting more emotions, but I did OK. It was much easier than last year.

    I hope you're doing well and enjoying the holidays. Please take good care!!!


  4. Renn, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY...not because it marks a celebration of disease, but of life. I had my third cancerversary in July, my first since going METS. For me, it is a marker of "success." Wherein I can "thumb my nose" at those med-pros that never thought I would make it as far as I have by declining their advice and protocols. YOU ARE HERE...and that is certainly worth celebrating!

    Happiness for the coming New Year. ~ TC


Your comments are encouraging — and encouraged!