Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Those 'cancerversaries'

How important are those cancerversaries? To me not very much. I have never really celebrated one with a party or anything. I think I sort of mentally marked some of them - many of them I forgot completely. I do know some people who celebrate - maybe they have later stage cancers where another year is unexpected after their diagnosis. Its their choice.

I am not sure where the five year thing came from - its the standard in clinical trials - but it has now become our basis. 'The five year survival rates are...' They don't tell me anything more than reducing me to a number. I am not a survivor and I am not a number - both of which come to play in that single phrase. I am a person. I don't plan on celebrating my five years from breast cancer diagnosis this year any more than I plan on celebrating 32 years since thyroid cancer diagnosis. Why? They are numbers. They do not begin to describe my life.

At one point I had plans to celebrate 20 years and then 30 years since thyroid cancer but have never bothered. I don't think I ever considered myself a number in that respect.

Also, I think the five year thing is completely misleading. I think triple negative breast cancer (I had ER/PR+, Her2-)  is mostly likely to recur during the first 18-36 months after diagnosis. So what does that five year mark mean for a woman with triple negative? Five years isn't really the important number. Thyroid cancer has been known to recur 30-40 years out so what does five years mean there?

I guess everyone can make their own choices and my choice will not be to have a party.

1 comment:

Angela said...

I've just discovered your blog. I started mine on April 27th just under 2 months now. I have -/-/+, Stage II but I don't define myself in that manner but am simply going through a season where my body is reacting to everything around and in me.
I started a journey before I received the diagnosis in preparation for the diagnosis. I've had a partial thyroidectomy but without a diagnosis of thyroid cancer and always thought I'd go from from a heart attack or linger from a stroke. I know now so little of what I know. Everything has been working so well for me that I won't complain, I can't complain. I've felt nothing but support even when I've expressed doubt.