Of course I remember the phone call from my doctor when she informed me my tumor was malignant. I remember it like it was yesterday. That ‘OH CRAP’ moment. That moment when my heart skipped a beat and I felt as if someone knocked the air out of my lungs.
I also remember all the doctor’s appointments and all the planning for the surgery. The moment I was being wheeled down the hallway to the operating room where I would spend the next six and a half hours.
Remembering the very first time I saw my body after the surgery is still a still frame shot in my memory.
What I don’t remember is when all of this stopped being so vivid. When did these things start to slip away from my everyday life. When did I stop thinking about cancer when I get up in the morning or before I go to bed at night?
The first few years I saw my oncologist every six months, keeping the memories fresh. After the five-year mark I was told I only had to see him once a year. Maybe this is when I fully started to recover and lose those daily images.
Sure I would talk about the experience from time to time, but those daily reminders were all mine. Memories and images I kept from my family and friends.
Yesterday I realized that today I would begin my ninth year of cancer free living. I just happened to notice the date on my calendar. It was then I wondered when those constant memories or thoughts had actually left me. I don’t remember.
What I do know is I’m free of the daily cancer thoughts. I now look in the mirror without the onset of what ifs. Even this past year when I had to have my implant replaced, the cancer memories did not come flooding back.
It seems to me I have been free of the daily thoughts for a long time but then the whole experience seems like another lifetime ago, so I’m not sure.
I hope if you are reading this, and you have faced cancer or are facing cancer now, you too will someday realize you are not only living a cancer free life but you will be free of the memories.