I know exactly where I was when I was told I had cancer each time. The first time I was lying in the post op area of the hospital and the surgeon came in to tell me the news. The second time, nearly 26 years later, I was sitting on our bed holding my husband's hand when the surgeon called.
It doesn't matter how many years apart it was. The effect is still the same. The words 'you have cancer' are just as, not scary, not terrifying, maybe intimidating is the best word. I think I was more intimidated than terrified. Its a big scary diagnosis.
The first time I was completely caught off guard. I was 19. No one had ever muttered the word cancer to me before surgery. Goiter was the word I heard. The second time I was a bit more aware. There had been some mutterings about not looking very good, etc. But I was still in denial after the diagnosis.
Those moments never leave you.