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Another [Cancer] Anniversary Date July 17, 2012

Posted by Admin in Healthonymous.
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Today, I have completed 14 years since my last surgery. For some reason, I observe this date, instead of my diagnosis date, somewhere about 3 weeks earlier.  This is my first 14th anniversary-as my earlier time between cancer diagnoses was 13 years.

According to tradition, the gift for a 14th wedding anniversary is ivory (imitation ivory). I can’t imagine giving any ivory as a gift in this century, whether it is fake or real. Being a cancer survivor is living dangerously enough!

I have the gift of being alive to mark this day and this year. I love having birthdays, as it beats the alternative. So don’t bring me a gift, but another candle for the cake!

Health

Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

What am I doing differently than 14 years ago? I wear a prosthesis (except during exercise) , I have lymphedema, I exercise much more and I am happy with the body I have. My advice for 20 something young women, “body parts come and body parts go”. Get over it!

A few things you should know about long-term cancer survivors:

  1. We help support the economy: I have contributed many thousands of dollars to my health insurance companies over the years. We cancer survivors bring in a lot of revenue. The custom-made lymphedema sleeves are just the beginning. ($200 2-3 times per year, partly covered by insurance).
  2. We understand that politics shouldn’t play a role in health care for women: I don’t do pink fundraising any more. No pink T’s, socks, headbands or caps for me. No Komen fundraisers; I just support good legislation.  I am happy to have been in some terrific cancer studies, such as the one for single women with children. A nurse made house calls to my child and me for nine months to discern how we were both doing.
  3. Women have choices about prostheses, reconstruction etc. I chose the prosthesis route. Thanks to the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998, women have choices about breast reconstruction that are covered events. Wait a minute-don’t tell the House of Representatives that!
  4. Don’t call me a victim or a fighter: I am not a cancer victim, nor a warrior. I vehemently dislike the ‘fighting cancer language’. To me, that isn’t holistic, or realistic. Some things you cannot fight against-like whether your hair falls out during chemotherapy.

Sometimes it is better to be like swaying bamboo than the mighty oak.

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