I'm going to celebrate someone's else's 10 year anniversary today: Betsy de Parry's. Today is 10 years since she's been diagnosed with lymphoma. More importantly, as she announced on Facebook two days ago, she just had a clean CT scan, and is now "disease free for 9 years, 3 months and 26 days. But who's counting?"
Regular readers know who Betsy is: author of the book Adventures in Cancerland, producer of the PBS series Candid Cancer, Lymphoma Goddess, and author of a column about cancer on AnnArbor.com. Her most recent column, "A Decade After a Cancer Diagnosis: Musings on Life," features her announcement about her good scan news and her cancerversary.
Betsy reflects a lot on some of the lessons she's learned in 10 years, and one really speaks to me today (as my own cancerversary approaches): "Cancer may leave our bodies, but it never leaves our lives."
She's talking about the bodies and lives of fellow cancer survivors, of course. She quotes some friends' wisdom on the same topic:
As a friend of mine says, "When your world has crashed before your eyes, it's hard to remember that anything could be something other than cancer."
Another adds, "We're scarred by our diagnosis. Every ache is a recurrence. Luckily, most of the time, reality is not as bad as our fears, but we become worry warriors."
It's essentially watching and waiting for a lifetime, isn't it? Those same little fears, aches, bumps, worries, they diminish over time, but never really go away.
The question is, what do you with all of them? What do you change? How do you deal?
Betsy has her own answers, which you can read about in the column. I'm still figuring out my own. I'll try to give you an update on January 15.
Like Betsy, my cancerversary is preceded by a check-up. Not a scan, just a check-up. I see Dr. R on Monday. I'm not anticipating anything newsworthy. But I'll give a report on Monday afternoon or evening, so feel free to check back.