Today was my last day of treatment for breast cancer!!!
I am happy.
I am hopeful.
I am recovering.
I am discovering.
I am no longer a Cancer Patient - though that seems to be a bit of a non-PC term, I felt like I was a patient while I was in treatment. And believe me, the term "patient" is apt considering how much waiting there was to be done. Though I have to give a shout out & props to the staff at the Radiation Clinic at RVH. They were all awesome - always a welcoming smile, care, concern and they made me feel cared about & for.
I am a Cancer Survivor. I have survived & I will continue to survive & thrive because of and despite what I've had to overcome.
Am I Cancer-Free? No, I can't use that one.
Because the surgery got all of the tumour & there was no cancer in my lymph nodes I got asked a lot why I had to do the chemo & radiation. There is no way to seek & destroy an individual cancer cell free-floating around your body; for me the chemo & radiation were precautionary & preventative. It's different for each person who has been diagnosed based on cancer type and other risk factors for recurrence but for me it was definitely necessary weighed against the risk of not doing them.
It's kind of like being the President of The United States; even once you're no longer the current President you are entitled to be addressed appropriately as "Mr. President". I still "have" cancer. Or maybe you could just call me Madam President! Even after 5 years - during which I will run the highest risk of having a recurrence of breast cancer (though not necessarily in a breast) - one is not considered "cancer free". My surgeon said that I'll not be considered "cancer-free" until 30 years of non-recurrence.
No worries, I now have a new anniversary. March 22 will be my first day of non-recurrence and it will be an anniversary that I will look forward to celebrating for a lot of years to come!