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Does anyone else get uneasy on your treatment "anniversaries"?

TraciInLA's picture
TraciInLA
Posts: 1885
Joined: Jul 2009

I completed treatment (bilateral lumpectomies, chemo, and radiation) at the end of 2009.  I'm on Tamoxifen and have some (manageable) side effects from that, but thankfully, I'm healthy now and continue to have good checkups and boring mammograms.

But even 4 years later, I find I still get uneasy and preoccupied on my treatment "anniversaries."  I started chemo in August -- this time in 2009, I was getting ready for Round 2 of chemo.  And I find myself feeling anxious and sad, remembering how difficult it was and how alone and isolated I felt then.  I go through similar feelings in May, when I was diagnosed, and in November-December, when I did radiation.

None of this is debilitating or keeps me from living my life -- I'd just really like to hear if some of you who are out of treatment have feelings like this, too?  For the first couple of years, I figured it was normal, but after nearly 4 years...?

Traci

Ritzy's picture
Ritzy
Posts: 4384
Joined: Aug 2009

I actually don't remember the exact day of when I heard those 3 life changing words  " You have Cancer", or, the day I had the lumpectomy, started rads or finished rads.  I do remember the month and year of those, but, not the exact date.  I guess I don't feel they are important, or, not to me anyway anymore.  It is my past and I choose the future.

I might have at the first, but, I guess I have moved on past all of that and am just loving and living my life too much now to bother with "bad" memories.  I don't want to hold onto any of it.  I don't want pity, I don't want to tell my bc story in post after post.  I don't want to be a martyr, I don't want to be in a competition with another pinkie inre to I had this and you didn't..nananana.  It just doesn't mean anything to me anymore.

Geesh Traci, I wonder what this says about me.  Maybe I don't want to know!  lol

Sue Smiley confused 31.gif

 

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2204
Joined: Jun 2010

Traci,

Don't know if this helps.  I was diagnosed on, August 16th, 1994.  Only because I had to say enough time do I really remember the date.

It will 19 years as of tomorrow.  I knew it for about a month prior to my mammogram.  I kept making excuses why I didn't go.  Then I did and it was what I feared.   

My 1st recurrence was in March 1999, my 2nd recurrence (mets) was in October 2000 and my 3rd recurrence was in June 2008.

I felt alone also.  I didn't know anyone in treatment, my parents lived in Florida and I live in New England.  My siblings and relatives lived in another state and I was divorced.  There was no internet at the time.  My only source of information that gave me comfort was Dr. Susan Love Breast Book.  I worked through my chemotherapy and was to tired to joined the local support group.  I still had a child at home who just began high school.  He tried to arrange rides with other kids' parents for school events.   Sometimes it wasn't possible.  He was very happy when I finished treatments.  It was a long year.

I hope you have some answers but I doubt that the same thing happens again on the same date.  

Wishing you the best,

Doris

bluewillo
Posts: 20
Joined: Aug 2013

Only I get all spazzed out the night before my onc checkups. Last time, I had to call in sick at work, I was a hot mess. I've found that I don't handle anxiety well anymore, maybe because there is so much stress in my life.

I don't remember any of my anniversaries, except for the last radiation treatment. And I only remember that because, for the first time ever, my red cowgirl boots would only drag my feet down the hall! All thru everything, they'd been there, kickin' cancer's azz...and on that last day, they said "We're done!"

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

I don't know my exact dates either, so, I don't get nervous about them.  I am like Sue in that I have moved on and don't dwell on it or feel any need to keep repeating what happened to me to others.

I do get nervous, insane, apprehensive and everything else however when I have tests coming up.  I hate that feeling, but, can't stop it.  I doubt any of us can.

Hugs, Jan

pegalina
Posts: 42
Joined: May 2013

Hi Bluewillo, I cant stand cancer check-ups..I do not sleep the night before..then when I go..I have to walk thru the cancer ward..brings everything back full-swing..I'm trying to put it behind me..well..I'll never put it behind me..@ least once a day I remember..& I dont think it will ever go away

bluewillo
Posts: 20
Joined: Aug 2013

When I go to the oncdoc's office...cos I'm usually telling him how tired I am, how I think I have a touch of PTSD...and this n that hurts-sadly, he's one of those docs who hasn't gotten the memo on cancer survivors and PTSD. And then I see the really sick women getting chemo and I feel so ungrateful. I also feel like that feeling will never go away, but I think it will. I'm kinda sorta planning my life so that if the cancer comes back, I'll be ready for it. Yes, that is correct....I BOUGHT 2 NEW PAIRS OF COWGIRL BOOTS! Frakkin' cancer won't stand a chance!!!

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3675
Joined: Apr 2009

... keep in mind that we're all different, Traci. And we cope in our own individual ways.

For me - am now 10 years out from DX #1: July 29, 2003. All the key dates that soon followed - surgery, chemo, rads, etc. - are permanently etched into my memory (which is kinda amazing - since my recall isn't very good, in general... am also awful with numbers of any kind). I don't choose to remember - don't necessarily want to... They're just... there.

Am now 2 years out from DX #2 - August 12, 2011. That is the only specific date from DX #2 I can recall. I think because it was my lumpectomy date (Aug. 12th) for DX #1. The remainder of DX #2 memories are only by months.

My whole life - Summer was my very favorite season. It's particularly precious - in general - for us Midwesterners, who live in true 4-season climates with harsh Winters. But, no longer. Ever since DX #1 - Spring is the season I love & enjoy most. The season of renewal and new life.

As long as your own memories don't interefere with your life - as you describe, I think you're plenty OK. Smile

I've learned to accept that sometimes - not always - those pertinent cancer-related milestones bring a sense of melancholy and reflection... maybe even a bit of anxiety. It all soon passes.

Some are experts at Ostrich Therapy. There are occasions when I wish was adept at its practice. Can't - am simply too aware, just not hard-wired that way.

Sending heartfelt best wishes for continued good check-ups and 'boring' mammograms! And (((hugs))).

Kind regards, Susan

 

Kobias
Posts: 115
Joined: Jun 2013

I've never felt the need or desire to remember those dates.  It wasn't a good time in my life and I don't think it is healthy to hang onto that kind of stuff.  ( just my opinion )

I remember the last day of rads as it just happened for me.  LOL  But, I will let go of that date with time too.

Life is meant to be lived, to move on, to make new memories.

I wish you good luck,

Kathy

DianeBC's picture
DianeBC
Posts: 3888
Joined: Jun 2009

Tracie, are you worried? I hope not!  Let us help you!  I don't celebrate cancerversaries, I just celebrate being cancer free and dancing with NED! 

Many do get apprehensive about those dates and it is very understandable.  We all cope in our own way.

Hugs, Diane

SIROD's picture
SIROD
Posts: 2204
Joined: Jun 2010

After all these years, I remember only the date I was diagnosed, 19 years today.  I remember it because the annual meeting for the historical house I worked in the summer for many years was the 2nd week in August.  I had made so many excuses to keep from making a mammogram appointment, and taking over the tea for that meeting was one of them.  I knew in my heart the mammogram was going to be bad and it was.  I finally made an appointment a week later when I could see the lump.

I do remember the month and year of other surgeries, VATS, treatments but never made them into a specific occassion.  I can't tell anyone the day as I don't remember.  Until recently I never mentioned the 16th of August either.  I don't celebrate cancer anniversaries.  I have enough to remind me that I still have the condition.

Think everyone is different on whether they choose or not choose to remember the date.  The group I began with in 1997 now have an old members only facebook account.  Some tell you, on this day, so many years ago and others never mention any dates.  I occasionally go on the account but not often.  One lady work in a lab and was very helpful last February when I was deciding on which chemo and why.

Good luck Traci and I hope you remain NED forever.

Doris

 

Dawne.Hope's picture
Dawne.Hope
Posts: 825
Joined: Sep 2009

Traci, 

Interesting that you'd bring this up because I've had similar thoughts in the last week. 

 

I was especially emotional and sad last weekend and couldn't figure out why. On a whim, I got out my old calendars and August 11 was the day I had my biopsy, August 14 was the day I found out I had cancer. I have the days of my BMX, and my exchange surgery memorized but I don't have the days of my diagnosis memorized but even though I didn't cognitively remember those days, I emotionally remembered them. Like you, I thought, "It's been four years, shouldn't I be over this by now?" I even called a friend who is a therapist by trade because I thought something might be wrong with me ... and she affirmed and encouraged me (and this goes for all of us), we're ok. There is no specific timetable that says we must be 'over' something at such and such a time. We've been through varying degrees of trauma, of stress of pain of fear...and 'emotional memory' is very real and powerful. It will ease with time, maybe never completely go away.  It helps me to know why I feel the ways I do during certain days. I don't think I remember these times in August because we put mom in hospice during this time too...so it gets all mingled...but I just want you to know that I am still struggling during these anniversaries and it's been four years for me too.  Is it easier than the previous years? I think so. And may the upcoming anniversaries be easier still.

 

Lynn Smith
Posts: 1265
Joined: Mar 2011

I don't remember my anniverary either.I think it was Aug 18, 2009.My mammo was done on July 2 when the tumor was found.Just a teeny thing but big to me.I thought it was OK since I hadn't heard.  I kept calling the doctor's office.Finally my appt was made.DCIS non invasive, Tumor 1/2 centimeter.It was a low grade but still to me it was big and a scary situation.I was so sure it was benign I didn't have my husband go with me and also was so sure I didn't tell him why I was going to the doctor after those weeks.I thought I would be telling him I had a mammo a few weeks ago and all was fine.I kept it to myself but for a couple friends and my sister(who since has been dx.)  

For my annuals now I do get antsy,Even when I was getting mammos every three months then 6 months,I was nervous.  Traci.You were dx about the same time as me.Honestly 4 years isn't long IMO. Not sure we ever feel comfortable.I guess I stay on the defense since I don't want to be in a severe shock if it does come back.There's no way to prepare us but if we feel to comfortable and it surfaces again we're really down.

I didn't need chemo or radiation.I thought radiation but it wasn't recommended. I take tamoxifin.Will be glad when I can go off it but my friend took 2 different meds and she said she would have gone on taking her 3rd med.That would've have been 15 years but her doctor told her there was nothing else.I am supposed to take tamox for 5 years but now I read 10 years???  I think my doctor will tell me to go off the tamox after 5 years. 

My hip is bothering me.I'm driving our old car since ours is being worked on.OMG getting out of the car is a chore.I just hope the hip pain goes away or the first thing we think of is cancer.It's just every ache and pain brings back can it be C.

Lynn Smith     

 

carkris's picture
carkris
Posts: 4547
Joined: Aug 2009

I get more sad around march to June. Intersting like you the brain or un concious remembers even when you dont. One year i remember feeling really sad on a certain day, not knowing the date, and it was the date of diagnosis. On time it was that I fel tbad and said to a friend "wow this pms is treally bad this month" she looked at me and said, Um do you remember what month this is? I had forgotten. I am not one to remembercancerversaries, or i guess observe them, but i do feel sad, it is the anniversary or time of a significant trauma. It does get better. I am 10 years out from the first one. also the march to June are the times I as dx, as I have had issues 3 times.

 

Jean 0609's picture
Jean 0609
Posts: 2384
Joined: Jun 2010

I completely understand your feelings.  Unfortunately, for me, I don't think they will ever go away.  Hope other that that you are doing ok. 

xoxo,

Jean

TraciInLA's picture
TraciInLA
Posts: 1885
Joined: Jul 2009

It makes me feel better to know that some of you have similar feelings around certain months or times of the year.  I definitely don't choose to remember these dates -- as you said, Susan, they're just...there, and I too am starting to think I'm just not hard-wired to ever completely forget them.

Dawne and Penny, I sometimes do the same thing you did -- I'll go a day or two feeling a little down or overly emotional, without knowing why.  I go looking for my calendar, to check if Aunt Flo is due for a visit (always good to blame PMS whenever possible, isn't it? Smile), and then notice it's around a particularly significant date from treatment.  Like you said, Dawne, sometimes we "emotionally remember" these times of year -- that's such a good way of putting it, that's exactly how I feel about it.  And thank you so much for sharing your therapist friend's reassurance.

In some ways I guess, 4 years is a long time, and in other ways it's not as long as I think it is.  I also don't think it helps that I have to think about cancer -- just for a brief moment -- every darn morning when I take my Tamoxifen.  No "ostrich therapy," as Chen used to say, for me -- I'd have to bury the Tamoxifen in the sand with me!

Traci

 

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

cancer survivors can experience post traumatic syndrome very much like our beloved war veterans. Although we didn't battle any physical army, we certainly battled an invisable invader and have/are fighting for our lives. I'm 8 years out but I can certainly tell you, any check-up, mammo, x-ray...even the dentist can conjure up fears and anxieties. I think that's normal. We ALL don't want to have to do any more battle. But it gets better. With much prayer and faith...family and friends, I just focus on each day and the wonderful things life has to bring. Yes, every now and then, I have to deal with some "bodily misfunction", but I don't allow myself to go "there" and spend too much time thinking the worst anymore. As mentioned, we're all different in how we handle it. I can honestly say, after taking Tamoxifen for so long, when my onc said "Well, you're done"...I was like "what?, You mean I'm not taking it at all?" As much as I didn't like it, I think I must have viewed it as a crutch!

Praying for you. I always enjoy reading your posts :)

Hugs,

Sylvia 

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3675
Joined: Apr 2009

I also want to thank Dawne, very much!, for sharing a professional's affirmation that these types of thoughts and feelings are OK.

And thank you, Traci - your reference to Tamoxifen reminded me that I, too, (still) take a tiny white pill each morning (Arimidex/anastrozole) that serves only one purpose. A daily task. Not every three or six months, not annually. Daily. You're right - it certainly doesn't help.

Yes, four years is a long time. While also being... not so long. Though I'll now also agree with Sylvia - time does seem to blur things a bit. At least, for me - it has. However, I truly doubt the 'emotional remembering' will ever completely end for me.

By the way, our beloved Chenheart called these types of thoughts and feelings: memory scars.

Kind regards, Susan

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5623
Joined: Oct 2010

I do not remember any date other then my last day of radiation! I just know 2008 was a crazy year and treatment ended JUNE 28, 08 and just started my last script of Tamoxifen in Sept...5 yrs complete

Denise

 

grannabeth
Posts: 95
Joined: Apr 2013

I'm a rememberer. Is that even a real word?  Ha.  I tend to always look back at my calendars and see what I was doing last year,  and even further back.  I like to see what fun I was having this time of year on previous years or see how God has brought me through some rough time I was having and that I survived it.  So though I am only five months out from diagnosis, I'm sure that next March 26th when  I'll have my first cancerversary I will be thinking about the shock of receiving my diagnosis.  I don't think that it will throw me for a loop--but I could be wrong since I've never had one of these before. And Andi, like you, I take that little white pill every morning and it is a constant reminder.  I just finished my first bottle--just 59 more months to go!  Now that sounds like a really long time--but I know I can do it because there are so many of you on here that have done so and will encourage us who are still on it.  Only side effect so far is hot flashes--nothing I can't cope with.  It just is aggravating because I didn't have the hot flashes when I actually went through menopause---I now I take something that MAKES me have them!!! But we do what we must do and remember in our own ways.

New Flower
Posts: 4197
Joined: Aug 2009

I am glad that you are feeling better, it is normal to be sad from time to time. to me everything has happened aroud the same two months. I found my lump on my husband's birthday. it was hard to forget and celebrate for several years after that. i was officially diagnosed about 1 month later and i usually have not beeing  well during those weeks ever since. my second time has happended in the same month. i was rescheduling my PET scan, it did not help Tongue Out to keep my NED.

Cyber hugs to all who feel sad and reflective and those who moved on and have forggoten

Cricket64
Posts: 63
Joined: Sep 2013

For me, it has been two years, next month since I  completed my cancer patient treatments, yet still often feel like 'it' cancer is lurking just behind my back, like a giant shadow that is going to pounce at any minute.  I feel ungreatful that I have these feelings, yet for me, the feelings are real.

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 500
Joined: Oct 2012

I do still remember the dates, as it all happened last year.  I think that it is because some of those dates were, to me, milestones as I worked my way back to some sort of normalcy.  My tests were throughout December 2011; my diagnosis was January.  Surgery, chemo, and then rads took me to the end of September last year.  Now I look back at those dates and see how far I have come.

I think that as I get farther away from those dates, I get a little more apprehensive about my upcoming appointments as they draw near, wondering if something will show up -- I am one who seems to "grow things."  I try not to let that become a consuming thought, though.  I have my three-month check Monday with my oncologist. 

andi44's picture
andi44
Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2013

Traci,

I haven't reached the anniversary point yet - as I just went thru / and still going thru this - but, I'm one that keeps a journal (love to write)  So, I do know every date as to what happened and when...I also wanted to keep track of patricular dates for future appointments/tests/treatments and such...I'm one that's forgetful - :) 

When my anniversary date does roll around - I am going out to celebrate!!!!!  And, if I don't have any other problems I will probably celebrate yearly...I'm always thinking it's going to 'pop up' in the other breast - I'm just a pessimistic.  But, I live my life to the fullest...as life is too precious not too...

Whatever you may 'feel' is normal - they're yours to have...

Andi  :)~

sbmly53
Posts: 1498
Joined: Jan 2010

For upcoming appts and anniversaries. 

 

Sue

 

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