I have heard a couple of women ask recently how survivorship is counted. I went to the trusty Breast Cancer Forum discussion board figuring the question had already been asked. It turns out it has, and a number of times! Most doctors and the majority of women seem to want to count it from the day of diagnosis. (April 18, 2013 will be forever etched in my memory!) Some of the comments on the board indicated that surving treatment should count as surviving time. That's true, however, I have been thinking about it and have decided that for me since my surgery was after my chemo and radiation, I would count it from the day I got the pathology results from the oncologist and GPO. That day was January 8, 2014. You can see a counter/ticker in the right hand margin that is marking the time. The 2 year mark is apparently significant as is the 5 year mark!
I am finding this part of the journey is very challenging but I am not alone. Surviving breast cancer it seems is almost like being in a club or sisterhood. You have to have gone through it to understand why this part of the battle is so hard. It is easy for people to think you should be happy, they got all the cancer, you can get on life, but through active treatment you were so busy fighting for your life that it is only when that part is over that you have time to stop and think about what it is you have gone through. In early survivorship you are still recovering from treatment, have far fewer doctor's appointments, tests, etc., and in most cases are on hormonal medication. The hormonal meds, in my case are Tamoxifen (10 years) and Goserelin/Zoladex (2 years). Combined, they do a lovely number physically (night sweats and hot flashes) and emotionally. I am hoping as time in survivorship increases and I return to work part-time I can find a "new normal".
Finding a "new normal" will be a post on its own!
* In case you are wondering why the ticker says "vacation", the website does not yet have survival tickers (I have suggested this to them) so I had to use a 'vacation ticker'. If you need a counter for your blog, website, Facebook page, they have tickers or counters for lots of other things/