No one wants to be told he or she has cancer. The initial lack of control and feelings of helplessness are often traumatic experiences. The usual reactions are anger, depression and terror-laced anxiety.
While survival rates for many cancers have improved, there are quality of life issues following the diagnosis, including the emotional difficulty of coping with the anniversary date. Survival rates are measured in 1-, 5- and 10-year markers. This often creates an emotional conflict as the diagnosis date approaches. Each year provides a measure both of success and trepidation. Diagnosis day is when the war on cancer begins in your body. It is sometimes shortened to military lingo for the day an attack or operation is launched: D-Day.
As with most traumas, people can tell you the vivid details of their diagnosis. They remember the time, what was said, what they did, and what they felt. D-day is etched in their psyche, and as the anniversary date approaches, so does the anxiety.
But one woman, Jen Cunningham Butler, has done something different. In honor of breast cancer awareness month I wanted to tell you her story.