Cancerversaries also known as cancer anniversaries are year round for me. I found the lump just before Christmas and had my last hospital treatment just over 18 months later.
Yesterday evening I realised I am feeling unsettled as I approach the cancerversary of feeling the lump (again).
The lump had definitely changed in the weeks since I’d first felt it on Christmas Eve. In my husband’s words it felt gnarly. I went to see my practice nurse. I remember everything that happened in that appointment. Everything. When the nurse felt it she couldn’t hide her facial expressions or her body language. She looked shocked and she starting shaking. I was calm, drawing on all my experience and training, reflecting in action to give her time to gather herself. I needed her to be able to think through what she needed to do and say the words that I knew were coming: ‘I need to refer you to the breast clinic. It will be an urgent referral. You should be seen within a week or two.’
Thankfully I don’t usually feel like this as cancerversaries approach. This is the first year since it all started that I have felt this way about a cancerversary. Usually they come and go and if I remember them I feel a sense of gratitude that I’m still here and have reached another year since…
I don’t know what’s different this year, why I’m feeling angsty. Maybe it’s because I’ve been waiting to hear about a routine appointment with my oncologist. Maybe it’s because I’m going to have my mammogram soon. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been able to get out as much as usual during the last week which has also impacted on my diet and my rest/sleep.
When we acknowledge and recognise our feelings it enables us to take some action and control. So I have phoned and left a message enquiring about the appointment. I have written this blog which has helped me think about my feelings, identify what’s changed and upset my sense of well-being and work through what I need to do.
I need to start walking again even if I can only manage five or ten minutes. I love being outside and walking, it is a salve for body, mind and spirit. I need to watch my diet. I need to develop a consistent bedtime routine. I need all these things, together with the encouragement, friendship and support of others as I face my cancerversaries.