It's a difficult transition to go from saying (and thinking), "I HAVE cancer" to "I HAD cancer."
A friend told me that, technically, once you have surgery, you don't HAVE cancer anymore. While I can see that is true (technically), it doesn't feel like that.
That would mean that from the time I found out that I had breast cancer in May to the time of my double mastectomy on July 6, I only got to HAVE cancer for about 6 weeks. That doesn't seem quite right. My brain doesn't process that something I only had for 6 weeks takes months or years to cure. I suppose you could argue that I had cancer before I knew about it - but, to my brain, that doesn't really seem to count.
As I recovered from surgery and as I went through chemo, I didn't really view myself as I HAD cancer - I saw it as I still have it - I'm still fighting it. Whether or not that is "technically" accurate doesn't really matter to me.
Regardless, it's been hard for me to transition to saying, "I HAD cancer." It's just not that simple. It's not as easy as just changing a word tense to make me feel like it's in the past. I still don't have much hair to speak of and my body is mutilated because of what cancer did to me. It's a constant reminder that I HAVE/HAD cancer.
As I get further out from chemo, as my hair starts to grow back, as I leave most of the effects of cancer and chemo behind, I can see that cancer is more in my past than in my present.
And, hopefully only in my past, not in my future.