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MJay's picture
Posts: 132
Joined: Aug 2004

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the day my world came crashing down. It is mind boggling how three little words, "You have cancer", can rock your world.

Despite the many blessings I was able to gleen from this experience, it still was the absolute worst year of my life. I am surprised at myself at how fresh the emotions still are. In effect, it seems I haven't even scratched the surface of the myriad of emotions involved.

I am so very grateful that I am still here. I am ecstactic that treatments are done and I am now just in the monitoring phase of this disease. I am pissed off that I even had cancer and that my life was threatened for no good reason. I am sad that I have to live the rest of my life with a colostomy even though it isn't that bad. And then there is every other emotion in between that cancer has brought to a head.

It has open old wounds and caused fresh ones... and this is only on the emotional psychy. The physical scars and limitations take some getting used to but I find that they don't seem as "deep" as the emotional ones. At least I can hide all of them under clothes! :) The emotional ones pop up and show their "ugly side" at the most inopportune times.

On Thursday I go in for my next set of follow up visits. I am anxious... you all know that feeling... but I am pretty certain all will be ok. I still feel the Grim Reaper is pacing behind me but each and every day he gets farther and farther away and every chance I get I turn around and flip him the bird when he isn't looking.

Geez I hate cancer. It just sucks.


Posts: 22
Joined: Apr 2004

Congrats MJ on being a survivor! I just past the 2nd year anniversary myself and the emotions are very overwhelming! I guess the fear never leaves you but you are right -- it seems to fade a little bit with each passing day. Good luck with your follow-up testing and here's to another healthy year! Cheers, Colleen

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Dear MJay,

Thank you for your post. It is honest and heart-felt. This is a really positive site; but no one can feel "up" all of the time.

Cancer does suck. But the endurance-factor has made you stronger.....whether you would have wished for the strength or not. You have accomplished a lot this year.

Cancer will definitely shake our lives; it is incredibly humbling. But think about the people you have met over the past year? Would your associations be the same without this demon?

Believe me, I am not trying to play Polyanna here.....I think cancer sucks too. But, as a result of the cancer, I do feel that I am maturing in a different, more expanded and thoughtful way....at least I hope so!

Hang in there; and be pleased that this year has passed. I am really hopeful for your check-up and wish you the best.

Again, thanks for a very honest posting.
And Congrats...Happy Anniversary!


ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Hi MJ,
You have very eloquently put to words what most of us have felt at some point since diagnosis. I hate cancer with a passion ,not just for the fact that it picked on me ,but because of how much of my precious life that it has wasted. The initial treatment ,the chemo ,the constant rounds of scans and blood tests, the feeling of fear and not being in control of my life. I was stage 3 with 6 bad nodes and given very little chance of beating it. I have had an up and down life since ,I had pancreatitis ,which they thought was cancer,.They then removed my gallbladder which they thought could be cancerous but was just full of stones, It has been over seven years for me now and though I understand completely that my original cancer will not reccur or metastacise ther is a permanent black spot in the back of my mind that fears a return of a new cancer, My wife wonders why I return to this discussion board when I have been given the all clear as cured,the truth is that I don't want to forget because if I do I might get careless and miss a check up. I'm afraid that for me once touched by cancer I will always be a frontline troop ready for instant response. I try to live as normal a life as possible ,I work, I play ,I don't drink or smoke,I exercise regularly and eat healthy food and cancer seems a million years ago or only yesterday. Yes I agree cancer does suck but it is our cross and we have to bear it ,I wish you good health and the strength of mind to carry on and be happy,best wishes for the future from someone who lives there .Ron.

alta29's picture
Posts: 435
Joined: Mar 2005

Please Ron 50 do not stop posting notes. You have no idea how much it help us to see 7 years survivors out there. I was dx 3 months ago and I still do not know how to react. I will cry myself out some days, and others I AM convinced that I will beat this thing. ( thanks to my husband i have these thoughts more often ) Thursday is my CT scan after my 3rd round and is nerve racking.....Notes likes yours I print and read them every time I'm upset. My pile is growing, so that means that there are really a LOT of survivors out there. Please pray for me and the rest of us for a NED result. Thanks you all....

kangatoo's picture
Posts: 2115
Joined: Feb 2004

Congratulations MJay!! I have just passed the 1 year anniversary and am still as scared as hell about a return of this crappy thing. I n my mind there are some rewards tho. Knowing that things could be worse and for the moment I am gratefull. Being able to come here to a new "family", something that has given Jen and I incredible comfort. Knowing that in we have a debt to pay to all who have supported us here. Meeting all the new people that maybe in some ways we can "touch".
AND ....coming to understand that in our lives before cancer struck us we tended to forget others and their problems.
We have learnt to forego the trivial and complicated things in our lives and concentrate on the things that should be more important, family, friends....especially our wonderfull friends here on CSN.
Ron....having guys like you around gives us all hope. You are a survivor of "true grit" mate....thank you!!
luv n huggs, kanga n Jen

ron50's picture
Posts: 1729
Joined: Nov 2001

Dear alta29,
How I feel for you remembering what it was like just after diagnosis,wanting my docs to be honest and upfront with me and wishing to goodness they would sugar coat it a little when they were. I am glad you have your husband to support you it helps .(My dear wife told me that if I died of cancer ,she would kill me!!!) Crying doesn't hurt ,it acts as a safety valve but just one thing ,conviced isn't quite good enough ,KNOW you are going to beat it and just hang onto that thought and never doubt that our prayers and best wishes are with you. Ron.

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi MJay,
I have found anniversaries (of diagnosis, surgery, whatever) to be so bitter-sweet. On the one hand, it is a reminder of when "normalcy" was stolen from me. On the other hand, it is one year further away -- and one year closer to being declared "cancer free". While I identify with your anger and sorrow, I want to take this opportunity to say Congratulations, darling. That year is behind you -- now, enjoy the next 80 (?!?!)
I'll be thinking of you as you go through the tests, with all my fingers and toes crossed.
With love, Tara

Posts: 185
Joined: Feb 2004

MJay, Ron has already said it very well. I am a 6 year plus survivor of stage three rectal cancer, diagnosed at 36. I remember how hard those first years after cancer were to me. I dreaded each trip into NY City for my check-ups, and wondered how life would ever be normal again. Well, more than 6 years later it's not quite normal...but it's close! I would never have believed how close to my old self I could get back to...but it does happen. I would never have made it throughthose first two years without the internet support (different site) of people who had survived and thrived after cancer. Enjoy a part of each day, that's how I started to recover, even during treatment. Save a part of the day just for yourself and something you like to do (for me, at my low point, it was the daily corsswod puzzle, now it's my 6 mile run before work!) You will get there...but it does take time.

Posts: 259
Joined: Nov 2004

Good luck on Thursday, MJay. We're with you.

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004


Yeah cancer sucks but you know what, the friends we have found along the way are priceless. You are one to me and I know your tests tomorrow will be okay. Your post was wonderful and it made me cry since I relate to you to so. I love your insightfulness and wisdom.

Hugs dear and know I am with you!!!!

Lisa P.

Posts: 484
Joined: Jan 2005

Congratulations and thank you for sharing.

Moesimo's picture
Posts: 1080
Joined: Aug 2003

I agree that cancer sucks, big time. Life will never be the same for any of us.

Congratulations on reaching a milestone.

Thanks for being a friend during this terrible cancer journey.


jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi MJay,
You sure got it right when you said cancer just sucks. I am now one and a half years out, due to have a CT scan next week to track those spots on my liver that were there on my initial workup...artifacts? It is so hard not to be fearful around exam times; I am still amazed at how anxious I am in the onc's office. All the emotions of the 6 months of chemo come rushing back; I can't wait to get out of there. I am also so grateful to be here, and feeling healthy and back to myself. At times the whole experience with surgery and chemo seems like a dream. I am grateful for the opportunity to resume my life without cancer, but I do feel changed for the better by the experience to date.
I have a close friend who was recently diagnosed with tongue and neck cancer. His diagnosis and frantic search for comprehension of the treatment alternatives brought me back to my own first weeks after the "bad news, the polyp is cancerous". My friend was so supportive during my treatment, and always admiring me for my courage. Seeing how sick he is with his concurrent radiation and chemo, with a feeding tube and nearly intractable throat pain, makes me feel like my chemo really was pretty minor. Experiences like this remind me that I have so much to be thankful for; here's hoping we all continue to grow and learn while we manage in the aftermath. Thanks for posting and prompting a lot of thought and discussion.
(And Ron, keep posting, too!) Judy

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