Thursday was the second anniversary of my mastectomy. I always think of my survivor status as beginning from that date, because it’s the day I became cancer-free. Opinions vary on this. The National Cancer Institute and others say you become a survivor on the day you’re diagnosed (in which case my two-year anniversary was April 4th). I did a post about when you become a survivor back in January that discusses this in a bit more depth.
I’m amazed that two years have gone by so quickly, and very grateful to have had two clean mammograms since then. I opted for the single mastectomy, not a preventive bilateral. I was always of the opinion that I’d rather deal with one breast at a time, because that’s what worked best for me. I know others who have chosen differently. There’s no right or wrong choice here; just as there’s no right or wrong way to mark our survivor anniversaries. Some women would rather forget about it and move on. Others see it as an excuse to party. I definitely see it as cause for celebration, although “celebrating” sometimes means stopping to reflect and give thanks my cancer was caught early.
But my survivor anniversary isn’t the only one I want to celebrate. Today is Bruce’s and my 35th wedding anniversary. No, I”m not actually blogging on our anniversary. That would be a good way to ensure I don’t see my 36th. Thanks to the magic of WordPress, I was able to draft this ahead of time and post it today.
One could argue that after 35 years, you’re also survivors of marriage. You’ve made it through the initial relationship ups and downs to the other side, where you’re just grateful for the time you have with each other. You’ve been through birth and death and perhaps cancer or some other significant illness.
Our 33rd wedding anniversary was two days after my mastectomy, and I will always remember it as one of our most special. On the day you get married, you really don’t have a clue. Going through something like breast cancer together makes marriage worth the price of admission. I never could have gotten through this adventure without Bruce. He was my nurse, chef, chauffeur, confidant, ombudsman, and partner in witnessing the absurd theater called cancer. (We actually found a lot to laugh about, which may surprise you if you haven’t been through something like this.) He was and is my rock.
Mark Twain said it much better than I could: “Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.” In our case, plus 10.