Fear of Recurrence

One of the challenges of being a breast cancer survivor is the fear of recurrence. It’s a strange fear for me at this point, more than four years out from the end of my treatment. I don’t look like a cancer survivor anymore, and most days I don’t feel like one. Most of my coworkers don’t even know I have been through cancer, and I would think that it would surprise them, given that I am just 33 years old. My breast cancer is no longer a regular topic of conversation among my family and friends. It just seems further away each day.

For these reasons, I am blindsided by this terrible fear of recurrence twice a year – when it’s time for my annual mammogram, and then my annual MRI. Usually I can usually keep the thought of going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment again at bay, but at this time of year, it keeps me up at night. I wish I could put it out of my head. I wish the fear would diminish over time, but it hasn’t.

This Friday is my annual mammogram. I’ve had many (8 or 9) and the process, while certainly a bit uncomfortable and embarrassing, isn’t so bad at all when it goes well. The waiting is hard though, especially when you’ve had a mammogram go poorly. As a survivor, I get a diagnostic mammogram, so I get the results right away. My initial cancer was not found through a mammogram (I found it myself) but about five months after my treatment ended in 2008, I had an abnormal mammogram and had to go back in for a surgical biopsy. It ended up just fine, but I carry that memory with me and it just adds to the anxiety.

I will be sure to write next week with the results. I am hoping for the best, preparing for the worst.

This entry was posted in !ality of Life Issues, April's Story, Blog, Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Stories, life after breast cancer, mammography, Recurrence, survivor, young survivor, younger women and tagged , , , , , , , .