Sixty-two months ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was devastating and scary. Thanks to my yearly mammogram, it was caught early. However, due to family history, it would take two agonizing months of tests, appointments, research, and opinions to arrive at a decision. A decision which would (and still does) cause me some second-guessing (you know what they say about hind-sight).
The outcome: a different Judy.
Five years later.
The five-year marker is monumental for many who have battled the disease. I don’t feel “safe” from recurrence, but I don’t worry about it regularly. I can rely on the notion that the risk of cancer returning is significantly reduced. Doctor appointments are now just a yearly routine, even though they still carry a high level of anxiety for me -- my new norm. I just need to take care of myself, find the time to exercise, and eat right. Someone remind me now and then that trying to protect myself from stress is not selfish.
So, on this day, January 20, 2011, I celebrate my 5-year anniversary of the disease (as it is the anniversary of my surgery). Lots of people (experts included) think the 5-year mark is some magical moment when you can consider yourself “cured.” It is certainly not that for me. It is, however, time to let go of the constant dwelling on the uncertainty of it returning. Buh-bye.
So, I share my big day with family and friends. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Special note to Bill, I couldn’t have gone through it without you. You were (are) amazing. I look forward to the rest of our life together. Let’s get on with it.