How I Reclaimed My Cancerversary
By Emily Piercell
August 26 – the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A day I’ll never forget.
This is my third cancerversary so didn’t think it would be a big deal. My first one brought a lot of anxiety. I thought I would relive my year of treatment as if it were happening for the first time. Luckily this didn’t happen and I was able to reflect on the year and appreciate where I was post-treatment. My second cancerversary was shortly after I had been cleared to exercise again after my last surgery so I was just happy to be moving on and getting stronger.
But this year has been unexpected. I woke up with a cloud over me for no good reason. No one can say the right thing or do the right thing. I felt a heaviness on my heart that just wouldn’t go away. It suddenly dawned on me that my cancerversary was the reason.
I’m sad today for the bright-eyed 27-year-old who was told three years ago that she had stage three breast cancer and had to start aggressive treatments to get the tumour to stop growing. I’m sad for all the things that cancer has taken from me – my breasts, my energy, my ability to have a baby right now if I wanted to, just to name a few.
I’m not positive all the time, that’s unrealistic. I think it is important to feel all the feelings, then move on because tomorrow is a new day and hopefully a better one. This is my mantra now.
Cancer is so difficult. The wounds, both physical and emotional, take a long time to heal. I’m still dealing with the fatigue and brain fog from chemo, the joint pain and hot flashes from my hormone therapy and the anxiety whenever I have a pain anywhere in my body. You can forget about cancer sometimes but then it can feel like cancer unexpectedly sideswipes you and you take several steps backwards in your healing. That is how I’m feeling today but I know tomorrow is a new day. It is a new opportunity to help other women going through this awful disease and hopefully inspire my friends and family to continue fighting for their own lives. Even though today was hard, I have reclaimed August 26 back from cancer. Three years ago was the worst day of my life but from here on out, it is a day of celebration. We are celebrating that I’m still winning over cancer. Cheers to another year here!