WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE THE STRUGGLES YOU’VE OVERCOME IN YOUR FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER
For a lot of my patients, celebrating breast cancer survivorship is important— they understand that overcoming the challenges of diagnosis and treatment is something that they want to acknowledge and honor.
Even if fighting breast cancer isn’t always a positive experience, it’s a life-changing event for most people, and marking the passage of time can be meaningful.
Dates can hold special significance for many of us. You might want to acknowledge the time that has passed since:
- You were diagnosed with breast cancer
- You finished surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy
- You received a report that you had no evidence of disease
“National Cancer Survivor’s Day is coming up on June 7, so now is a great time to think about how you want to recognize your fight—or the fight of a loved again
HOW YOU CAN ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR “CANCERVERSARY”
Different ways to celebrate work for different people and at different times. There might be times you want to pause and reflect quietly on how far you’ve come, and other times when you want to throw a lavish party. Here are some ways you might want to recognize significant milestones:
- Have dinner in a restaurant with family and close friends
- Organize or participate in a fundraiser
- Take a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to visit, or to a favorite place that holds special memories for you
- Plant a tree or start a garden
- Create art—paint, sculpt, or write a poem or song. It doesn’t have to be fancy—you could have a group of friends join you for an afternoon or evening class
- Treat yourself to a facial, massage, or spa day, alone or with friends
- Tackle a bucket-list item—ride in a hot air balloon, visit the Grand Canyon, or taste caviar
- Share your milestone on social media
- Throw yourself that party
“Every survivor is unique, and every survivor celebrates in their own unique way.”
CELEBRATING IS A PERSONAL DECISION
While I encourage my patients to recognize the time that has passed since they’ve begun their battle with cancer, I understand that celebrations are not for everyone. For some people, those significant dates can bring up feelings of sadness or unpleasant memories.
If that’s the case for you, or someone you love, it’s perfectly fine to let these anniversaries pass unacknowledged. Or, you might want to journal privately to get your thoughts on paper and recognize how far you’ve come and how your life has changed.
You may also want to simply acknowledge the date with your significant other or another close family member or friend.
And you may want to turn to other breast cancer survivors for support—people who have faced the same battles and fears as you are well positioned to offer empathy and comfort.