Today marks the one-year anniversary of the surgery I underwent to remove a cancerous tumor from my lung and, with it, the lower lobe of my right lung. All indications are that the cancer succumbed to the surgery and its follow-up treatments: six weeks of radiation treatment and four courses of chemotherapy. The aftermath of the surgery and the subsequent treatments remain with me in the form of periodic pain (absolutely tolerable), shortness of breath, and a chronic cough. I can’t be sure the chronic cough is related to the treatments, but I’ll be willing to bet it is. Maybe one day the doctors will figure out the cause and, better still, a treatment that will eliminate the cough without sacrificing my quality of life in the process. Even though it has been a year now, I still find it hard to believe I had lung cancer. It just won’t completely register in my brain. But I know it’s real. I know I experienced it. Yet it’s still surreal in some respects. Odd, that.
I have a follow-up appointment in three weeks with the surgeon who performed the surgery. Unless he has surprises me, I assume this will be my final visit with him. I vaguely recall that he said something to the effect during one of my other two follow-up visits with him.
I wrote last month about the approximate anniversary of my diagnosis of lung cancer. I guess I’m writing again so soon about another anniversary because cancer is still very much on my mind. I’d rather forget it, but that’s not likely to happen. Fortunately, being “on my mind” does not translate to being “psychologically or emotionally burdensome.” It’s just an ongoing acknowledgement of my illness and its treatment. Nothing terribly grim and depressing.
While I’m acknowledging the anniversary, I’m not celebrating it. Not yet. Not for quite a while yet.