In 2002, I heard about the Five Year goal from everyone. 'Five Years the doctor said, 'Five Years' the nurse said. 'Five Years' the oncologist said. 'Five Years' of Tamoxifen the Pharmacist said. Five Years seemed like a magical time which was an eternity away.
In 2007, for several months I awaited July 25 with anticipation: 'Five Years' to the day since my breast cancer surgery. I wondered what I wanted to do, go out to dinner, have a party for myself, have a small photography exhibit (still my passion), just sit and smile; how will I celebrate?
Well, to my surprise, life being what life is, July 25 came and went and I took no notice, made no celebration, just lived the day. Several days later, it dawned on me. All that waiting: 'Five Years", 'Five Years' drummed into my head, and I missed it. It took me a second or two to decide missing it was a gift. I am now too busy living to worry about maybe not living. I feel good, my prognosis is good, I don't need a particular day to celebrate, I celebrate everyday but just doing the ordinary with more awareness and gratitude for the ability.
Several weeks later I had my last visit to the surgeon. 'Five Years'-you've graduated, next year you will see the oncology nurse instead of me. I could feel myself grinning like a fool. "Five Years' and not counting. Happy.
Marylyn Rotzler Dunn lives in NYC, designs greeting cards using landscape photography, stamping techniques and watercolors. She enjoys participating in photography exhibits and giving creative arts classes to other survivors. She is married with two grown sons and a Maltese named Oliver.