3rd Cancerversary

Cancerversar | The Silver Pen

3rd Cancerversary

Three years ago today, I was diagnosed with FBC (f-bomb breast cancer). Wow. I still can’t believe that I just wrote that. I mean, really. But I am reminded – every time I take a shower or change my clothes or wonder what why I have an ache or pain – that yes, indeed, I did have breast cancer.

I consider the day of my diagnosis to be my “Cancerversary.” Kind of a strange term, I know; however, having FBC in and of itself is awfully strange. And awful.

In the time leading up to my 1st Cancerversary, I decided that I wanted to find – yes, you guessed it – Silver Linings and wholly balance the negative associations of the day with the positive ones. I thought that there would be no better way to do so than to challenge myself – really challenge myself – physically and emotionally. So:

  • On my 1st Cancerversary, I ran a 1/2 Marathon.
  • On my 2nd Cancerversary, I hiked to the top of Inspiration Point in Santa Barbara.
  • Today, on my 3rd Cancerversary, I am climbing the mountain again.

Recently someone said to me, “Isn’t it great that you are 1/2 way to being ‘cured’?”  This goes in the What NOT to say to someone category. After all, I can name 5 people off the top of my head who were diagnosed with a recurrence 6+ years after their diagnosis. To quote one of my dear readers, this “makes me feel like I am on the edge of a precipice and could fall at any moment”

The thing of it is that my body has stupendously duped me once. I know that it can do it again. BUT, I am choosing to balance that possibility with a Silver Lining philosophy that tells me to live everyday to its fullest, to make healthy lifestyle choices (like eating well and exercising!), and to maintain a positive outlook on life full – always full! – of Silver Linings.

I sure do hope that you can learn these things WITHOUT a cancer diagnosis.



Leave a comment


  1. E.B. says

    Here's to a bazillion more, Miss Hollye! I loved the quote “makes me feel like I am on the edge of a precipice and could fall at any moment” as it describes living with FBC perfectly, but you do learn to peek over that edge and enjoy the view of all the possible Silver Linings that can be found. You are a Silver Lining to many, many people. Really looking forward to your book!

  2. Diane says

    I love the way you honor your survival. Your hikes and half marathon are like metaphors for the endurance and fortitude it takes to face cancer with the sense of completing the challenge; well, strong, accomplished, and filled with the SL of crossing the finish-line or reaching the summit. Yup! You're an inspiration, dear Hollye!

    • says

      Thank you so much, Diane! They are indeed (very literal!) metaphors (as the hike was HARD!). Thank you so much for your kind words – as always!

  3. Clare says

    18 months for me today. Good mammo and follow up appointment with my brilliant team at Rush Medical in Chicago. No doctors until next April! Congrats to us all.l

  4. Lori Folks says

    Dear Hollye, You are a beautiful young woman and you have created a special place in this website that I know has helped many women. I went through the same emotions and shock when I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in December 2005. After 3 years I was in the exact same place as you are right now as you hit the 3rd cancerversary. Then I had a recurrence and a new stage 4 reality. I promised myself that if I made it one more time through treatment I was going to change my new reality mindset. I quit thinking about it, talking about it and giving it one more second than it deserves. I am lucky enough to say I have had 4 1/2 years of peace with cancer. For me, once I made peace with "it", I got my life back.

    • says

      Wow, Lori…what an absolutely beautiful and inspiring story. I can't begin to thank you enough! All my best wishes to you for continued peace.

  5. says

    Thanks for sharing your Cancerversary Experience. I have only had one and really wasn't quite sure how to treat it. Was I happy, was I sad, how was I supposed to feel? It wasn't like anything else I had experienced. My anniversary was in June so we chose to light a fire outside and my husband, three kids and I all wrote something we wanted to release on a piece of paper and then burned them and then wrote something we wanted to invite back in and placed the paper in a special box. Afterwards we toasted marshmallows and my husband and I had a nice glass of wine. I am still unclear exactly how to treat this new holiday I have been given. I am pretty certain it deserves acknowledgement and some sort of ritual to mark its passing. It is still sort of like sweet and sour chicken, definately a mixture of good and bad.

    I love how you have chosen to mark yours. Such great ideas. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Take care,

  6. Kim C says

    I hope you enjoy your 3rd cancerversary! Thank you for helping me along the way with my own cancerversaries. You've helped me to look for the good (SL) – especially on the days when it felt easier to give in to the fear, anxiety and sadness. Thanks again! Happy Day, Hollye!