Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Cancerversary to Me

So it's today.

I struggled with the whole cancerversary concept. Did I really want one? What day should it be? My "you've got cancer" mammogram, my biopsy results, my surgery?

I decided I did need a day to mark. It would somehow free me a bit.

To tell the truth, I picked the day I found out. Last August I had my first mammogram at a downtown NYC hospital. It was an awful experience. A group of us, braless and in robes were lead down the a hallway the length of a city block like some pathetic chain gang. The technician was rough with me.

I said I was never going back.

Then two weeks later I got a call I needed more mammograms. I can't tell you what I expected. But I chose September 1st for my follow up.

The date was after a short vacation and a journalism convention I planned to attend. If I was gonna have cancer, I wanted those two trips first. At the convention I had a surprise chance to dine with my personal hero and role model, the amazing Boyd Huppert of KARE-TV and I thought that evening in Indy, at least I am getting to do this before I have cancer.

I waited for my biopsy results through Labor Day weekend, my surgery was in October, but September 1st was the day my life changed. And I picked it, I did. So here we are, one year later.

The date seems to fall in the middle of an emotional minefield. After the anniversary of Katrina, before 9-11, and just around the Jewish holidays when it is believed the "book of life" is open. Of course there is also the big pink October cloud on the horizon. While some of these occasions put my own experience into perspective, it seems like a time when we are reminded how epic and unpredictable life can be. At least the weather is nice.

Some people mark these dates with a celebration, and I respect that. They are doing the happy dance to be alive, and maybe in future years I will do the same. Perhaps at least I will have a few drinks, maybe a "pink lady?"

The day I found out, my husband left work early, and ironically I took advantage of cool clear evening to cookout. At that point I wasn't sure how many chances I would have remaining, and I had always wanted to have a barbecue in New York City.   Maybe that will become my tradition.

But for this year the day feels solemn. Not sad, just solemn. I am happy to be alive, and to have a good prognosis. I still struggle with some physical problems and that is frustrating. I told my husband to send me flowers, we'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath.

So life goes on. Thank God.



  1. This is a beautiful, poignant posting! I know exactly what you mean: the day of the mammogram, the one where doctors say something has been found, is a horrific one.

    There's really no correct way to deal with such anniversaries. I count my anniversary from the date I finished chemo, August 2, 2001. A little over a month later, the towers came crumbling down.

    The world didn't make sense then, and it doesn't now.

    I'm glad you are alive! Stay strong...

  2. Congratulations on making it through the year in one piece! I am about five months into my ordeal. Sometimes the whole process seems never ending, so I am envious of you. All the best.