Monday, March 21, 2011

What Am I Now?

Today was my last day of treatment for breast cancer!!!

I am happy.
I am hopeful.
I am recovering.
I am discovering.

I am no longer a Cancer Patient - though that seems to be a bit of a non-PC term, I felt like I was a patient while I was in treatment. And believe me, the term "patient" is apt considering how much waiting there was to be done. Though I have to give a shout out & props to the staff at the Radiation Clinic at RVH. They were all awesome - always a welcoming smile, care, concern and they made me feel cared about & for.

I am a Cancer Survivor. I have survived & I will continue to survive & thrive because of and despite what I've had to overcome.

Am I Cancer-Free? No, I can't use that one.
Because the surgery got all of the tumour & there was no cancer in my lymph nodes I got asked a lot why I had to do the chemo & radiation. There is no way to seek & destroy an individual cancer cell free-floating around your body; for me the chemo & radiation were precautionary & preventative. It's different for each person who has been diagnosed based on cancer type and other risk factors for recurrence but for me it was definitely necessary weighed against the risk of not doing them.
It's kind of like being the President of The United States; even once you're no longer the current President you are entitled to be addressed appropriately as "Mr. President". I still "have" cancer. Or maybe you could just call me Madam President! Even after 5 years - during which I will run the highest risk of having a recurrence of breast cancer (though not necessarily in a breast) - one is not considered "cancer free". My surgeon said that I'll not be considered "cancer-free" until 30 years of non-recurrence.

No worries, I now have a new anniversary. March 22 will be my first day of non-recurrence and it will be an anniversary that I will look forward to celebrating for a lot of years to come!


  1. Hip Hip Hoorah for Madam President!

  2. Madam, President, I salute you...

  3. You're a survivor is so many more ways than just cancer.
    Let's have a huge bash on March 22, 2041 - 30 years later and going strong!

  4. You are a strong, beautiful, generous woman with a good brain, a warm heart, and an army of supporters. Madame President, you rule!

  5. Congratulations :0) Now you get to have your life back. I highly recommend it !

    The only thing I hated more than being called a Cancer Patient was when someone referred to me as a Cancer Victim. Victim ??? I don't think so !

  6. Make sure you do something special every year on March 22, Madame President.
    December 28, 2011 will be my 5 year celebration; I'm already trying to figure out how big to make it!
    You're right about labeling and I chose my label carefully. The doctor told me I was 'cured' after my final chemo and subsequent check-up.
    Cured? No, I'll go with "completed my treatment" thank-you and continue to look ahead. Stay in the moment and plan for the future; that's the best we can do.
    GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!
    Hail to the Chiefette!

  7. Anonymous10:58 AM

    One of my favourite quotations seems to work here - "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."
    T. S. Eliot

    Be well,

  8. Anonymous11:05 AM

    And here's to many, many more cancer-free March 22nds!!!
    Sadly, for my family, March 22 will always be the day my sister-in-law was told she had ovarian cancer.
    But maybe that will just mean we'll have a different non-recurrence anniversary date.
    Your survival gives us hope.

  9. I lift my McD's large Vanilla Iced Coffee to salute the long journey you've travelled, and the joy of good health to follow! You're Ab Fab Wannietta!

  10. Thanks everyone - it really is nice to have something to look forward to celebrating!!
    Charlene - I can't wait for some warmer days to get back into those sinfully rich drinks!! MMMmmm ...

  11. Madam President, you are my hero!! Congrats and cheers to the first of many fantastic March 22nds. The tulips are just poking up in New York today--they're smiling at you :-)