When you hear about the “5 year mark” in regards to cancer patients, they are usually talking about remission. Some count it from their last chemo date, some from their last scan, but either way the 5 year mark is a big deal. When you have been cancer free for 5 years they say you are now in full remission. You officially have less of a chance of the cancer ever coming back.
Today is my 5 year anniversary, but for stage 4 patients like myself, mine is about my diagnosis date.
Yes, today 5 years ago, my entire life changed. Just typing that out is making me cry right now. It is hard to see it in words, but it could not be more true. Everything I thought I knew and everything I thought would happen changed on this day 5 years ago. I am still grieving the life I never had.
Today is also significant in a positive way as well. I’ve made it to 5 years. That is a long time to be alive with stage 4 cancer. I have lost some friends to it along the way, because the fight it extremely hard. You can be fine one day, and then the next you’re bed ridden. It is a terrible and taxing disease. So the fact I have lived for 5 years with it is remarkable. It is also terrifying and deeply saddens me.
How much longer do I even have now? And how the fuck have I been living in this hell for 5 years? Today is full of “why me”.
I can’t even write this blog post any more. I feel like I need to live this day out, and then reflect on it later.
What I will quickly say though, is the other day I ran into someone I had not seen in 5 years. This person does not have social media, and we do not share any mutual friends. He was an old coworker. He was catching up with two of friends of mine while we were out to dinner, then he reached across the table and introduced himself to me. I was humiliated. I froze and didn’t know what to do. My friend chimed in and said “That’s Jamie”. He got all awkward and quickly left the table. I cried.
That is kind of the theme of this week. Which is why yesterday I not only bought myself that Gucci purse, I bought another scarf as well. Can’t take my money with me when I die, right?