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.