Today marks the four year anniversary of my survivorship. Everybody seems to have differing ideas of when that starts, but my family has always considered the day I had the cancer removed from my body as the day I became a survivor. So I awoke to eight red and four pink roses.
I still have times when I mourn what I’ve lost or get angry at how my body has aged with stiffness and arthritis, but those emotions come less and less. The events of four years ago seem surreal, almost no big deal at times. Funny how my husband never sees it that way.
But while my body has healed and my life has moved past the crisis, my head hit a little glitch. I found myself in a perpetual funk that I couldn’t seem to shake. I’d never dealt with clinical depression and had always been able to pull myself out of the pit we all find ourselves in from time to time. But this time there was no escaping. I finally accepted that I was probably depressed.
When I explained my lack of interest and blase’ attitude to my doctor she acknowledged what I had already figured out. Not a bad depression – it wasn’t affecting my relationships (much) or my work – but a depression nonetheless. I told her how ridiculous it is when everything is so much better than it was just a couple of years ago. I wasn’t depressed then, why should I be depressed now? Easy, she said. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was in survival mode for so long, doing what I had to do, that now I have the time to be depressed (Greatly paraphrased here.)
I’m now on the very mildest of antidepressants and it seems to be doing the trick. I’ve started slowly shedding the pounds I gained with treatment and the following medical issues I had. My life is about all sorts of things other than cancer and my husband and I are training to do the Philadelphia 3Day in October.
I finally feel more like a thriver and not just a survivor!
Cross posted at Jenster’s Musings
Congratulations on your anniversary. A great post… especially when people think it is all behind you.. it is but PTSD is hard.. it can rear its head at anytime and it is such a hard thing to explain.
As above, congratulations on another anniversary of your survivorship.
In certain ways — many different ways — recovery and long-term survivorship are challenging. As with the challenges of treatment, the three steps that can help people get good care and live fully during treatment can help them after treatment ends: obtaining sound knowledge, finding and nourishing hope and taking effective action.
Wishing you many joyful anniversaries for years and years to come.
With hope, Wendy
I think that survivorship is hard and we all deal with issues after our treatment. I have had the same problem, I have changed my meds around and am feeling so much better.
It is a very big milestone! 🙂
Congratulations. What a wonderful milestone.
Happy Anniversary! I hope you will celebrate many, many more.
Congratulations on your ‘canserversary'( I like that). I am glad you got some low-dose antidepressants and that they are working. I have been feeling exactly like you described lately. Although I am still in treatment, the end of Herceptin is coming soon, and already I feel an odd almost ‘let-down’ after the year and 1/2 of oeverwhelming anxiety. It almost seems like something bigger should come out of all our hard work and pain, doesn’t it? But life is not like that, and it goes on, especially for the people around us. Everything goes back to the way it was…which is good in a sense but unsettling as well.
Thank you for writing this; I have been keeping a close check on my emotions lately and will remember this post, knowing you knew when it was time to ask for help –and I will too.
first of all, congrats! it is wonderful to mark the years and realize how quickly (and wonderfully) life goes on!
good for you for being so in touch with your emotions and for taking care of yourself.
may you have more and more reasons to celebrate life to its fullest!!
cONGRATS GIRL!!! WHAT AN AWESOME FEELING THAT MUST BE!!!!!