I remember my cancer was diagnosed in April, a year ago. Maybe my birthday being in April makes it even more notable. But until I looked just now, I couldn’t remember the exact date I got the diagnosis:
April 23, 2015
So, it was slightly more than a year ago. And here I am. Still alive and kicking, albeit not as energetically as back then. Sure, there are days, many days, when I fret because I’m still so tired, or unenthusiastic, or my fingers ache, or something else.
Maybe I should be counting from the day of my surgery — the first day of treatment:
May 20, 2015
Either way, I think of 2015 as a lost year, a year that just … evaporated (although it didn’t seem like it at the time). I’m a year older, feeling 10 years older, and have almost nothing to show for it. Except of course the surgery, the chemo, the radiation, the cough, the prednisone, and all the unpleasantries that accompanied them. And the fact that I’m still here to talk about it.
Looking ahead, I’m not quite sure how far to look ahead. By all indications the cancer is gone, but there are no guarantees it won’t come back. The five-year survival rate for Stage II breast cancer is 93%. That’s pretty good odds, but worrier that I am, I’m not sure I’d relax even if the number were 100%.
The statistics say I should be okay, but I’m sure the fear of recurrence will never completely go away. Every little ache or twinge worries me. If they occur between my waist and shoulders, they really worry me. But I remind myself that my body is still healing and changing. And of course I’m still on hormone therapy and will be for five years.
Maybe then, April 2021, I’ll consider myself one of the 93%. Meantime, I’m just happy to be here. And I’ll think of all this every spring when my new redbud and pear trees (planted just yesterday) bloom in celebration of another April.
Note: The eastern redbud is special to me. It’s the state tree of Oklahoma, where I grew up and lived most of my life.