Happy Cancerversary To Me

I posted this over at Mothers With Cancer and I figured, “Hey! Why not post it here, too?”

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!


  1. Becky on May 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Beautiful roses for a beautiful woman and a beautiful occasion. Praise God for 4 years and the thriving!

  2. Lynilu on May 3, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    I’m glad you’re thriving, Jen. Very much.I feel similar losses with my body, but it is just age-related. What happens to a body in any 4 years is bad enough, and I’d guess it is magnified for you, both physically and emotionally. I am very happy you sought support. 🙂

  3. Lynilu on May 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    OH! And Happy Anniversary of the best kind!

  4. Jenster on May 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks, ladies!! :o)

  5. Gretchen on May 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Thriver, indeed. And a truly remarkable individual with a remarkable family, too.Happy Cancerversary. Thank you so much for sharing your experience which has become ministry with us. God’s pretty cool like that.

  6. Cheryl Wray on May 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Happy (amazing!!!) Cancerversary!!!!! You are absolutely a survivor!!

  7. Pink on May 3, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Happy Cancerversary!!! WOW, 4 years! Just think, you are just one year away from the mark!! 5 yaers means you will more than likely NOT have it come back!! Now on that Cancerversary you need to celebrate BIG!!!! I am so glad to see that you are doing better.There is nothing wrong with getting help for the depression. I had the same problem not to long ago, and needed to get some help myself.What an amazing experience the 4Day will be!!! I look forward to doing one myself one day SOON.

  8. CindyS on May 3, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Congratulations on 4 years! And kudos for getting the help you needed. Like the doc said, not a deep depression but enough to know you weren’t yourself. Good for you! I hope things keep getting better and better for you!cindyS

  9. Lori on May 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Happy Cancerversary! I’m so happy for you. Things are looking your way, my friend.

  10. Jenster on May 4, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks, friends!!

  11. The Journey of a Grieving Heart on May 5, 2009 at 12:25 am

    From the moment I heard the news of your cancer, I’ve been amazed at your ‘thriving’ attitude. You’ve been a wonderful example and I am so thankful for you.I don’t know if it’s Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome … or really how it’s defined. I know that we’ve gone through it too, recently. I decided it was that we worked so hard at getting through the crisis, that we never slowed down. When it was over and we took a breath,we just collapsed into a fatigue ridden quick sand that seemed to make it difficult to move. God’s grace is amazing and I am beginning to see light again. I guess you could say we’re not just survivors … we’re trying to thrive as well.So glad you are thriving … you’ve got so much to share.Love you bunches, Penny

  12. Tanya on May 5, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    “I finally feel more like a thriver and not just a survivor!”That is awesome!

  13. radioactive girl on May 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    It took me forever to recognize what was going on with me because like you I kept thinking why now? Why would NOW be the time I would have trouble after all I have been through. But it very much makes sense that it would be once we have a second to really process what went on that it would hit us hard. I am glad you are starting to feel better. Doesn’t it in some ways feel like 100 years ago that we both went through our cancer stuff? In some ways it seems so long ago and in others it seems like it was just yesterday. I am thinking good thoughts for you!

  14. The Daily Bee on May 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Awesome post! =) & Congratulations on 4 years!

  15. beans on May 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    you are just awesome! Thanks for sharing yourself with us and showing us what seeing things through to the other side can look like!

  16. Chrissy on May 19, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Hi, Jen! I’m happy you have reached this milestone!PTSD…I think I had/have this after my daughter died. it is hard to explain to someone else.

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