Clocks, Calendars and Cancer

July 19, 2019

Time is a relevant way of recording events during one's cancer journey but it's important to keep a proper perspective.

The sun rose today, and I was glad. Another sunrise meant another day of life. I never used to count the days before cancer.

It's been 1825 days since I was diagnosed. Five years. What a milestone! When diagnosed, I wasn't sure I'd make it to the end of that year, but I've made it. I've reached the "magic mark" — the fifth-year post diagnosis.

In 2018, I wrote a post about the magic five-year mark entitled, "What if Five Isn't the Magic Number?" In that post, I explored the significance of patients reaching five years after diagnosis and how some oncologists use that time frame as a measuring stick for possible recurrence.

Reaching a five-year milestone doesn't necessarily guarantee there won’t be a recurrence of cancer. Cancer can return at any time, even many, many years post diagnosis. But for those like me who are just reaching the five-year mark, it becomes a little easier to ignore the little voice whispering in the ear, "You don't really believe you're healed, do you?"

When first diagnosed with breast cancer, the hands on the clock were a constant reminder of the limitations on my time. Without saying a word, they pointed to the fact that cancer had the upper hand.

The calendar was also a reminder that time was slipping away. As each day passed, I realized my focus and perspective weren't always where they should have been. Instead of thinking about time available and the number of days ahead of me, I dwelt on the passing of each.

That was then, this is now.

I know exactly how many days it's been since being told I had cancer. It's been 1825 days. Those days were tough, but I remember them well. They were days of struggle, suffering, and pain. They were days of angst and confusion. Many of those days were filled with uncertainty and fear. But as days and minutes passed, many of the things I worried about never came to fruition. I survived. I'm still here. And cancer didn't win.


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