As the big day approached, I realised that I had no idea how to mark this significant day. In fact did I didn’t even know if giving it a significance would be a bad idea and give cancer too great a prominence. There are no guidelines on how to mark a Cancerversary and I think this is essentially because it is a contradictory time. That is why I refrain from using “celebrate”. It is neither a happy nor unhappy occasion, yet it is both a happy and unhappy occasion. It is of course wonderful that I am here and have survived and able to mark the year. On the other hand, hearing those words which tell you do have “cancer” does not constitute a celebratory or happy memory.
I decided shortly beforehand that I would write a letter to Cancer (inspired by the Dear Cancer Project) as a cathartic process and a way of reflecting back on the past year. In the run up to the day, passing the first landmark days, I prepared my letter to Cancer and posted it eagerly on the eve of my Cancerversary, 1 October, which is also the beginning of Breast cancer Awareness Month.
Then I sat back and wondered what on earth to do on the day itself?
As it turned out I decided to do nothing special. For a year cancer has dictated what I do or don’t do for so much of the time, particularly during the time of the heavy treatments, that it felt good not having to make a plan. I know that probably sounds strange, but it makes sense to me! So I had a relaxing day, reading, spending a little time online, listening to music and generally relaxing at home. I rounded off the day with my usual trip to the pool and had a totally delicious and peaceful swim. I treated Twang Arm to a mile, 80 lengths, as I continue the long battle to weaken its strength.
It was a quiet, reflective and relaxing Cancerversary, and I hope there are many more to come.