'Fess up. You didn't know it was National Cancer Survivors Day. Neither did I. You probably don't think it applies to you, either. Neither did I.
We were both wrong.
"The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a 'survivor' as anyone living with a history of cancer -- from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life."If you are one of the millions of people who has ever heard the "C" word as a label for anything growing on or in your body, I hate to burst your bubble, but it needs to be done: You. Are. A. Cancer. Survivor.
And if you're someone who actually uses the phrase the "C" word, you probably also think there's cancer and cancer. Cancer is cancer is cancer. Stick with me, please. Because while it is simple, I am not naive enough to think it is that simple. Cancer is a complex animal with many levels of invasion, treatment and survival. Hell, why else do all those terms stage, grade, spread, size and myriad other qualifiers exist? The depths of that, though, are a topic for another day.
Today, cancer is cancer is cancer. Cancer is learning about that funky mole you just had scooped out. Cancer is learning that those funky cells somewhere inside you need to be removed before they grow. Cancer is learning that the funky pain that won't go away isn't going to go away.
A survivor starts paying attention and isn't scared to have tests. A survivor isn't afraid to have surgery that removes vulnerable tissues or organs. A survivor accepts that life as it once was will never be again, but there is still life.
Survivors talk about cancer. And that's how we live with it.