General — CancerLyfe


1 year cancer-free

June 27, 2023 in General

I haven’t really told anyone that I just passed my one year cancerversary, one year of being out of treatment and cancer-free. A lot of people thought it would be a time to celebrate. Months ago, I wanted to celebrate. I thought about planning a party. As the date crept closer, I realized I was having a lot of unexpectedly complicated feelings about it.

On the day itself, I found myself craving solitude, to be alone with my thoughts. I needed to respect the knot in my stomach and invest the time to untangle it, to investigate it. I realized I am even more a stranger to my own life than I felt a year ago. I had some idea in my head about what kind of progress I would see by now, that maybe I would be really muscular and strong with long flowing hair and a new zeal for life. Anytime I fall short of that, I feel guilty.

The rest of the world is so eager to sweep this whole cancer chapter under the rug, there is no room for rest, reflection, support, patience, kindness. After all, cancer is SO uncomfortable to talk about, people will avoid it any way they can. I remained very calm throughout treatment, waiting until I was declared to be in complete remission to really break down.

Meanwhile, I deal with a lot of guilt for my ongoing disabilities and caregiving needs, somehow feeling like any long or late term side effects from treatment are a moral failing, rather than something totally out of my control.

I don’t have a clear picture of what I though I would be doing a year out of treatment, but I am grateful I took the time to check in with myself. I remembered that I’ve had many successes over the last year that deserve celebration. Many of my accomplishments aren’t tangible— I became braver, more assertive, set more boundaries, amassed a little wisdom—so they are easy to overlook. I’m so proud of how far I’ve come, and I hope you all feel proud of yourselves too!

1 - 2 of 2 Replies

  • samanthadeanExpert

    Wow. First, let me say Congratulations on being in remission for a year!

    I completely understand where you're coming from when you say the rest of the world is eager to sweep the cancer chapter under the rug. It is an uncomfortable topic. I'm glad you're talking about it, though! Please continue sharing your thoughts with us. :)

    June 28, 2023
  • Jbullock56Patient

    I totally understand. I am five years cancer-free and I remember when I came to that first year cancer anniversary. I did go out with my family for dinner and had a small celebration with them because I knew what I had put them through that year. But I guess in my mind, I was still concerned about reoccurrences. And I knew I still had years of follow ups to endure before I would truly feel free of cancer. I think a lot of people just don’t understand just because you say you’re cancer free doesn’t mean you’re free of cancer.

    July 1, 2023
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