Emotional memory

I’m finding it a little weird that lately I’ve been having memories – almost flashbacks but not as vivid – of the time around my diagnosis. We aren’t at an anniversary of it … that is still 5 months away. It is why I’m finding it all rather strange. And the memories aren’t terribly vivid from a visual perspective, but they are much more from an emotional perspective – except that I feel like I’m looking in on myself.

I also have a sense that the last few years didn’t happen. This is a sense that happens rather frequently. Maybe it is a part of moving on with my life, and the stepping back into some things? Even as I write this I’m remembering the sense of denial I had … and I’m glad that I don’t remember the feelings of intense sadness … not that I don’t remember that they happened, more that I don’t remember exactly how they felt. I don’t have the emotional memory of those feelings, where I’m having the emotional memory of specific times.

Now, my research does involve me going back over my blog posts – but for the most part I haven’t done that yet – and really it doesn’t seem to at all be related to that.

When it first started happening I dismissed it. Now I’m finding that I’m noticing it happening – a perhaps a little more frequently then I’d like.

Feature image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr CC By 2.0.

  • Becky


  • Dear Becky and fellow survivors, this spring it will be 5 years since I was diagnosed. I had high grade stage 0 dcis ductal carcinoma in situ with comedo necrosis I had 1 biopsy 3 lumpectomies and then double mastectomy and diep flap reconstruction. I am married and a mom of 5 children now they are 22, 18, 16, 15, and 11 deduct 5 and you’ll see how young they were at my diagnosis. I did not have chemo or radiation so I feel lucky somehow.

    My first child just graduated from college and my next is looking at them for next year. Sometimes I feel like I am in a time warp. I’m grateful to be alive and I don’t think about cancer everyday anymore but it’s always in the back of my mind when tickled. We have been through a lot to say the least and sometimes I feel like my emotions are catching up with me. I have been in survival mode in some ways and I sometimes find it difficult to relax.

    I am getting better at taking care of myself and considering my feelings. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself kinda like when I went to Hawaii or Europe am I really here? I am looking for a new normal I think. I am amazed at the variety of emotions I have. I am so grateful to be alive. Yes I said that before I have lost a few friends from cancer during the last 5 years. I sometimes feel guilty? Lucky? Even in denial? Like I don’t want to think about it or maybe it will come back.

    I don’t know if I am validating your feelings or if we are have similar experiences or not, all I know is that I have a heightened sense of awareness and purpose and urgency and care and compassion. Sometimes it is an out of body experience like what would it be like to everyone my husband my kids my siblings if I wasn’t here. I think my brain definitely plays back my experience physically emotionally and spiritually.

    I am so glad you share the honesty of your experience it helps me to not feel unique or awkward or alone. It encourages me to share and stay in the moment but also process and share my version of this journey of life, good or bad, joyful or sad, mountain top experience or valley of struggles up or down the mountain. I appreciate your vulnerability and willingness to share understand and communicate.

    Mom of five

    • Diana,
      Your comments and hearing about how my writing helps others is what inspires me to keep writing. I’m currently doing research on my blog that is very internally focused, but once that is done I’ll be doing research that is more outwardly focused – and I will reach out again – because I think it is important. I think your sharing of your experience in the comments of my blog are just as important as my blogging. It helps to know and share. One day, we shall sit down and have coffee together 🙂 or maybe go for a walk in the woods.

  • Thanks for this Becky. Serious illness is such a huge discontinuity in the flow of our lives that our brains may never be able to leave it behind. Maybe our brains can’t process a close encounter with the end of ourselves?

  • I have found the 2nd year, post “treatment” has been almost more difficult than the initial diagnosis year. The emotional leftovers and anxiety about recurrence have been a significant roadblock in my ability to “move on” with my life. I certainly found this post on your emotions quite interesting. Keep writing!

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