Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! Today is my Six Year Cancerversary and I am so grateful to be here! I have been looking forward to writing and publishing this post for a while. I cannot believe that six years ago today, I was having an eight-plus hour mastectomy surgery. It seems like a blur in a lot of ways but is still at the forefront of my mind every single day. I had my six-month checkup a few weeks ago, and my oncologist said, “six years is a great sign.”
Six Year Cancerversary
If you are new to the blog and don’t know my story, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. TNBC is when the tumor test negative for three of the main things — the hormones estrogen and progesterone and a protein called HER2, that drive other forms of the disease. Triple–negative breast cancer is more aggressive than other types. I believe with all of my being that this cancer is environmental. It does not discriminate in age. There have been women as young as their early 20’s diagnosed with this particular kind. I cannot stress how important it is to do self-checks and get your mammograms!!! Early detection is critical with any cancer, especially this kind.
Statistically, making it to five years is a feat with TNBC and each year after that is the icing on the cake. When I hit five years last year, my survival rate went up to those of hormonal breast cancer. Each year is a gift that I am truly grateful for! I have talked to and heard about so many women who have been diagnosed this year, and it does make me think that the environment has a huge role to play in this. We have to make good choices in how we live our lives, but with some kind of cancers, it’s just the luck (or not) of the draw. That being said, I am a huge believer in living your life to the fullest, because you never know what tomorrow holds. I don’t want to miss out on anything!
Being a cancer survivor puts a lot of things into perspective that may not have been as important before.
Do cancer survivors think about cancer returning all of the time? It is a fear but one that I choose not to dwell on, but if you have had cancer, it’s hard not to. I wanted to share something with you that I recently read. If you or someone you know has had cancer, this is what daily life feels like:
Imagine you are going about your day, minding your own business, when someone sneaks up behind you…You feel something press up against the back of your head, as someone whispers in your ear. “Sssshhhh…don’t turn around. Just listen. I am holding a gun against the back of your head. I’m going to keep it there; I am going to follow you around like this every day, for the rest of your life.”
“I’m going to press a bit harder, every so often, just to remind you I’m here, but you need to try your best to ignore me, to move on with your life. Act like I’m not here, but don’t you ever forget…one day I may just pull the trigger, or maybe I won’t. Isn’t this going to be a fun game?”
This is what it is like to be diagnosed with cancer. Any stage or kind of cancer. Remission does NOT change constant fear. It never goes away. It’s ALWAYS in the back of your mind. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed or is in remission, remember this. They may never voice it, but this is what it feels like.
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Side note…these earrings are amazing! See Chefanie’s other pieces here!
Today is a day that I celebrate more than my birthday because this is the day that I was given a second chance. I am truly blessed and grateful and know without a doubt that God has healed my body. Fashion and beauty is so much fun, but being hope and inspiration for anyone going through breast cancer is my greatest privilege. I hope no one reading this will ever be diagnosed but if you are or know someone who is, please, please, please, contact me. I would love to be of help!
Thank you all for reading the blog and for being part of my journey through all of this! xx
Photos: Danielle Sabol