Thing is, I’ve never been able to find out when you actually start counting the 5 years! Is it from the date of diagnosis; the date of your surgery; or the date you finish your treatment?
I guess it sometimes depends on what your cancer was and what treatment you had. Some people have just surgery and that’s it, that’s enough to remove their cancer. Others go through many months if not years of treatment – when do they start the countdown to their 5 year celebrations?
To hear your Consultant say “ that’s it, you are now cancer free” or words to that effect must be wonderful, especially if you’ve had to endure some pretty rough treatment.
I was diagnosed on 23rd Dec 2009 with womb cancer. I had my hysterectomy on 25th Jan 2010 and finished my treatment (chemo and then radiotherapy) on 12th July. Which one of them is my starting point?
Whichever it is, one thing for sure is that I’m never going to hear my Consultant say “you are cancer free” because I’ve never had any follow up appointments since my treatment ended (apart from a brief 5 minute appointment with one of his junior’s 3 weeks after that meant the best part of a 6 hour round trip to get too!!!!)
Apparently, he was so sure that the cancer had gone that he deemed I did not need any follow up appointments. In the beginning, I was a little apprehensive that maybe the cancer would come back because I wasn’t getting any check-ups etc but then I slowly began to accept that if it was going to come back then it would, no matter if I was going for follow ups or not.
My lovely Macmillan nurse rang his office and was told that he didn’t think I needed any follow ups because he was certain the cancer had gone but if I wanted to see him anytime I could make an appointment!! As if that was ever going to happen – I’m the woman who refused to seek medical help and put up with severe heavy bleeding for almost 35 years!!!
I had a couple of appointments with my gynaecologist but even they stopped a year or so after my hysterectomy. My own GP was never involved in my cancer diagnosis or care and didn’t even know that I had been in hospital for my hysterectomy!!
If it hadn’t of been for my wonderful Macmillan nurse then I would have had no support at all. Sadly she moved area 6 months ago so I’ve lost her now.
So, back to the 5 year question. For me, I’ve decided that my 5 year mark will be on 12th July 2015 – the date I finished my treatment. I still won’t hear the words “you are cancer free” and I won’t be popping a champagne cork like many people do because even though I may technically be cancer free I am still living with the long term side effects of my diagnosis and sadly there is no time limit or cut-off date for them.
Don’t know how I’ll feel come the 12th July – probably a little teary and emotional but I guess I can blame that on the hormones!!!
xx Kaz xx