My Breast Cancer Diagnosis Anniversary

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • Every year, around the end of January, when all the red hearts, and shiny foil wrapped chocolates, and sentimental greeting cards, and advertisements for flowers and jewelry start appearing everywhere, I get that sinking Valentine’s Day feeling. No, it has nothing to do with being anti-romance, or having a grudge against Hallmark or 1-800-FLOWERS for trying to make a buck.

    It’s that Feb. 14, 1996, was the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, forever ruining the fun of buying mushy cards and chocolates and presents for my loved ones. In fact, over the years, my husband has discovered that he just can’t do anything right that day. When the bad memories of the date were more intense for me, in the early years after my illness, my bad mood would start around two weeks before. If my husband brings me flowers, the way he often does, for Valentine’s Day, I would get mad that he’s not celebrating my survival. Although, in fairness to him, I must point out that I have made it emphatically clear that I consider it bad luck to celebrate my survival, that it’s practically tempting fate to give me a recurrence. So I have not made it easy for him.
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    My children, luckily, have no idea that Valentine’s Day has any other meaning for me. For as long as they can remember, I have bought them little presents without making a big deal about it.

    My best friend, who always remembers the significance of the date, is in the same bind as my husband, with one big exception. I never get mad at her. I just appreciate that she wants to commemorate my existence and we usually go and have a nice lunch that day.

    This year, I’m trying to act more like an adult about the holiday. I am not going to pick a fight with my husband, the way I usually do. I’m already in a mildly bad mood, but it really only started yesterday, a full week later than usual. I’m not sure if this is because I’ve been especially busy and out of town a lot for the past few weeks, or if the 10-year mark is healing some of the wounds. I’ll get back to you on that.

    Anyway, everyone else should have a happy Valentine’s Day. I’ll be home, sitting alone in the dark, counting the minutes until it turns Feb. 15th.
Published On: February 10, 2006