March 10th 2010 marked my 1 year since my diagnosis of Breast Cancer. Sometimes it feels like this last year has been so long yet most times it's hard to believe how much we have accomplished in this last year. They say you are a survivor from the day you are diagnosed with cancer. I have to admit tho I am still confused by this concept. For me, since I am still in chemo until August, I have a hard time saying I am a survivor. I am ok with saying I have been battling breast cancer for 1 year but have I really survived if I am still in treatment? What about when my chemo is complete. There is no 1 guarantee test that says OK you are 100% cancer free. For most people you wait it out. You go through life hoping that any pain or sickness isn't serious and you celebrate the milestones at 2 years, 5 years, 10 years... Will only after 5 years and no cancer has returned then will I be a survivor? Can you only survive an event that has a specific beginning and end date or time? Such as a war or a tornado?
But what about those who know there is no cure for their cancer. They will be in and out of treatments for the rest of their hopefully long lives. Are they not cancer survivors? Let's go to the expert.. Mr. Webster.
1. To remain alive or in existence.
~This definition sounds so depressing to me. To remain alive? We all remain alive and are in existence. I would hope I am living more than to just exist.
2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere:
~ to persevere - hang in there - while this is better than the first definition it still does not reflect the importance of a cancer survivor.
How do you define a survivor?
To me it is a combination of both. I would hope when one looks at me as a survivor, either today, in August or in 5 years from now they not only see that I persevered through my 18 months of cancer treatments but that I lived! I enjoy life. I participate in life. I laugh with my family. I make memories with my friends. I kiss my husband. I get on the floor and get silly with my daughter. It is in these moments that I am a survivor. These moments where I feel alive! And I love the feeling!
Words from a popular Nicki Minaj song...
I fly with the stars in the skies
I am no longer trying to survive
I believe that life is a prize
But to live doesn't mean you're alive
I wish that I could have this moment 4 life, 4 life, 4 life
Cause In this moment, i just feel so alive, alive, alive