All quiet on the southern front

There’s no one reason for my blogging hiatus. Once we got settled into the new house, I could have resumed blogging. I thought about it many times, and even bookmarked several articles as good potential blog fodder. Fodder or no, my heart has not been in it. I’m a believer in this statement by Gandhi:

google images

google images

If something is truly important, that’s what we do. That which is most important is what we make happen. So as much as I have thought about blogging, I haven’t made it happen. A recent conversation with a dear friend helped me realize that I miss blogging, and that it provides a necessary outlet for thoughts, fears, and ideas. And venting.

A few weeks ago, I realized that the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis was approaching. Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my bilateral mastectomy.

mastectomy day -- hooray!

mastectomy day — hooray!

Four years a survivor. Somehow that doesn’t have quite the emotional “oomph” as Twelve Years a Slave, yet we mark the events in our lives — both positive and negative — in years, and we celebrate or commemorate anniversaries.

I’m not sure how I feel about another year of survivorship. It’s a prickly issue, and one in which the face of a very public disease gives way to a very personal struggle. The obvious-seeming emotion about surviving cancer would be relief, to be glad it’s gone. But here’s the prickly part: it’s never really gone. Instead, it’s the monkey on my back that manifests in every twinge or symptom that might possibly signal a recurrence; a random bone ache is surely a sign of mets. It’s the generalized anxiety about if or when recurrence will strike. It’s the niggling thoughts in the dark of night about the presence of micromets in the area formerly known as my breasts. It’s the questioning of every decision made along this “cancer journey.” Did I do enough? How much is enough?

Does it ever get easier, this uneasy survivorhood? Perhaps. Like grief, it becomes less raw, less all-consuming. But it doesn’t go away. As I’ve written about before, it’s never over. While some like to celebrate the anniversaries of survivorhood, I’m leaning more toward ignoring them, to not calling attention to them in hopes of not jinxing myself. It’s a personal choice, with no right or wrong status. I notice the dates as they approach, but instead of stopping to acknowledge them and the myriad emotions they evoke, I keep my eyes on the horizon.


7 Comments on “All quiet on the southern front”

  1. Caroline says:

    Congratulations on four years! I am about to hit 7 years since my breast cancer diagnosis and 33 years since my thyroid cancer diagnosis. I don’t really celebrate these much but periodically think maybe I should. We are still here and that’s the important part.

  2. Barb Fernald says:

    Nice to see you back. I was just thinking about you and your new house the other day. Have had a bit of a hiatus from blogging myself. Trying to get back to it, but weeks go by….
    4 years later and you’re still here. That’s worth celebrating!

  3. gozzygirl says:

    I was just thinking about you and hoping you were busy getting on with life. When I don’t hear from a fellow cancer blogger, I do worry a bit. I’m with you on ignoring the cancerversaries. In fact, I unintentionally ignored my own four-year diagnosis anniversary. By more than a month! In fact, it was only your blog post that made me realize mine must be coming. Glad things are going well. 🙂

  4. billgncs says:

    I hope someday it’s just a faded memory.

  5. Renn says:

    I never know whether I should ignore cancerversaries or write about them. Sometimes I even forget them. (Not entirely; I wake up a few days later and think: OH. So *that’s* why I was in a funk. They are sneaky, stealth mental health robbers.

    Welcome Home! We’ve missed you! 🙂

  6. Missed you.. glad to see you back in the blogosphere again x

  7. […] big warm welcome back to the blogosphere for Nancy of the Pink Underbelly, who is marking a […]

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