Once you have been diagnosed with cancer in any form, the word cancer will be associated with you for the rest of your life. If you have a broken leg you don’t become a broken leg survivor or if you have strep throat you aren’t a strep throat survivor yet in the cancer community, many feel that their diagnosis defines them and they often ask themselves will I ever be considered healthy again?
I think a Facebook post that I read best explains this. It’s from NCSD – National Cancer Survivor Day. This is a direct quote:
Who is a Cancer Survivor?
A survivor is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.
- If you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer – you’re a survivor.
- If you’ve been in remission for 20 years – you’re a survivor.
- If you’re an adult who had cancer as a child – you’re a survivor.
- If you’re living with cancer as a chronic disease – you’re a survivor.
- If you’re currently in active treatment for cancer – you’re a survivor.
- If you’ve beaten cancer and been declared cancer-free – you’re a survivor.
Whether you’re in treatment, just diagnosed or have been in remission for 20 years, you’re a cancer survivor.
This post for me was life changing. When I was first diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, I defined being a survivor as the day when my doctor would say that I was in remission or once I hit the 10-year mark when the medical community feels more comfortable saying that you have been “cured” of cancer.
Remission came and went and there were new cancers or tumors found in my body and I just knew that cancer would have to stop defining me.
Once I came to the realization that I may never be healthy on paper, yet I am well, I found peace. So now, I have a new drive and new zest for life that only someone who’s heard those words, You Have Cancer, could fully understand.
Take this journey with me. We will all be WELL in our own way and love life together.