My cancerversary is on Friday.  It’s been a year since my diagnosis, and it feels both much longer and much shorter than that.


I was sure when I started chemo that it would never end.  I went into one session sure I had at least three more, and when a nurse told me I had only one more, I was surprised.  Radiation went by so quickly that I can barely remember it now.  Mostly I remember one of my radiation techs, Deedee, and Leilani, a fellow patient, who made everyone in the clinic laugh.

When I think of how much time I’ve spent worrying about the future, though, that year seems like a decade.  It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve truly come to understand that if I have a recurrence, there’s nothing I can do about it.  I can try to prevent it by eating healthy and taking care of myself, but that’s all I can do.  It’s both frightening and liberating to come to that conclusion.

I know I’ve said it before, but it’s still true: cancer has taught me what love is.  It’s taught me that love is not flowers and a ring and a church; it’s my husband changing my bandages.  Love is being near my kids; cherishing all the little moments.  Maybe it’s no coincidence that the cancer happened the same year Katie started high school.  In only a few years she’ll be starting her own life away from us.  Every day with her is more precious.

Spiritually, though, I don’t know where I am.  We’ve continued to go to church as a family all through my treatment, as we always have, but instead of feeling closer to my higher power, I don’t feel its presence like I used to.  It feels like I’ve been dropped off in the wilderness with only a map and pocket change, left to sort out my survival on my own.  I might get eaten by something, but I might not.  This uncertainty has led me to seek out help in my church, which has helped, I guess.

In a month or so, I’ll be able to talk to a plastic surgeon about reconstruction.  I didn’t think I wanted to go through another surgery, but I think it’ll help me a lot, mentally.

7 thoughts on “anniversary

  1. I have a friend who just started chemo, Jen. I have referred her to your blog because of your honesty and because of posts like this. I have so admired your courage throughout your journey!

  2. You sound a lot better than when you started out; very good. Thank you for sharing this past year, Jen. It has been a journey.

  3. Bravo, Jen…BRAVO. I, too, have been referring people to your blog. It’s scary how many people I know who are now starting out on their own journey.

  4. Every anniversary is important. Love is not just a feeling. Feelings come and go. Love is a commitment and action. So happy Ryan, your family and your church are showing you love in the midst of hard times. Know that the Lord loves you as well. You may not feel his presence as much as you have in the past. But He is still there for you in the midst of it all. If there is anything we our friends can do please let us know! Thankful for you.

  5. Happy anniversary, Jen!! I’ve read every word you’ve written on this journey with a tear in my eye (or many leaking down my face). Cancer is no friend, and it truly is a battle for those fighting and surviving as well as their family, but I love hearing that it’s taught you about love. Love is stronger than all things.

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