I attended an event recently where they “congratulated” cancer survivors. It’s an event that I attended as a Stage 3 patient as well and I recall the sense of pride that I had at eventually being a “survivor”. I had a treatment plan, a path forward and a future. There was the fear of cancer coming back but that was drowned out by treatment, next steps and being “cured”.
Attending this event, I almost felt like a fraud. Sounds silly, right? Yes, I survive every single day. I survive each treatment, each pill, each shot, each blood draw. But I will not survive cancer. Harsh? Yes. Reality? It is. There will come a day – 1, 5, 10, 50 years from now – that this disease will progress to a point that I cannot battle it any longer.
I am not saying that I will ever give up because I don’t think that I ever can. I will continue to seek out additional treatments, trials and alternatives. But…
If I am not a survivor, what am I? This question may seem irrelevant but I find myself lost between the world of early stage survivors and people who have succumbed to this disease. Where do metastatic breast cancer patients fit in?
This has been on my mind a lot. What am I? Well, I’ll tell you.
I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a granddaughter. I am a cousin. I am an aunt. I am a friend. I am a woman. I am 32. I am a reader. I am a beach lover. I am a perfectionist. I am silly. I am spacey. I am a lover – through and through. I am a hugger. I am hard working. I am loyal. I am compassionate. I am committed. I am strong. I am weak. I am a thinker. I am a crier. I am a doer. I am caring. I am kind. I am faithful.
I am a lifer. I am metastatic breast cancer. I am me.
I don’t know that there is a word to replace “survivor”. But it’s what I’m doing…and more. I pray that I will live to see the day where I can unequivocally shout from the rooftops – I AM CURED.