Well today was the day. The day once a year I remember I HAD cancer.
Sure, I think about it other days. Little things remind me. Someone else gets diagnosed. I have a low day. I see my scar. There are moments.
But it is guaranteed an early Friday in April, I’ll think about it. I’ll walk back in the doors I walked in 8 yrs ago as a scared 24 yr old and the feelings all return.
That was my morning this morning. As we loaded the car before the sun came up this morning, my husband asked me how I was feeling; what was on my mind. “It’s the only day all year that I remember I had cancer.”
Today was a new day. Seeing the same doctor, but in a new place. A new building that I didn’t know how to navigate or where to even park.
But we figured it out.
Dr M came in the room with his cliche foot shuffle and that well known smirk. A calming presence every time. He shakes my hand in the gentle way he always does followed by his usual greeting, “how ya feel?”
I smile and say, “fine”. It’s our usual routine. The banter we’ve both come to expect. But this time there is a cute, blonde man sitting in the chair beside the exam table. That all American demeanor captured my heart. “You remember a year ago you asked ‘what was new?’ And I replied that there was a boy”. His attention shifts to the good looking guy in the infamous plaid. “Well there he is.” We all chuckle and finish the appointment.
“Everything looks good. I guess I’ll see ya in a year. And we will do this until year 10 then you’re done with me.”
We exchange other pleasantries and then it’s over. Yep, that simple. When it’s done it seems that simple.
But the hallowed look in everyone else’s eyes takes me back. I remember the feeling of Friday’s after chemo. The exhaustion. I remember the fear and concern that a boy would never love me after I had cancer. Would chemo steal my chances of being a mom. Would this scar always be in the way and carry a stigma. Would people see me first or just the “survivor” label.
For the day (or atleast the morning) the feelings all return. But today I had my love with me. It was a surreal moment. Walking in from parking garage with him. Carrying in crackers for the chemo room.
8 years cancer free.
We paused by the elevator and kissed. (No one was around, it was ok)
And then we celebrated. We decided we’re gonna find reasons every day to celebrate life. Indeed, each day is a gift. And for that, I’m most grateful!