For many patients like Elissa Thorner, a two-time breast cancer survivor and program manager of the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Survivorship Program, living through treatment is only half the story.
At some point during my treatment, without me even being conscious of it, those appointments had become my security blanket.”
“I remember being so scared when my oncologist said he did not need to see me on a regular basis anymore,” Elissa says. “There was no warning and no preparation — like a Band-Aid being ripped off. I realized I’d grown to depend on the very appointments I’d loathed. At some point during my treatment, without me even being conscious of it, those appointments had become my security blanket.”
For Elissa, life after cancer has developed into more than a series of medical milestones. “As I move further from treatment, having cancer no longer is the singular most important piece about my identity. That’s not to say that I, nor even most patients, don’t occasionally think about it; but it no longer dictates every avenue of my life as it once did. Cancer has earned a piece of me, just as has being a wife, daughter and mother.”
Elissa also has written blog posts for the Kimmel Cancer Center’s blog, Cancer Matters.