…and I’m OK with it so everyone else should be too. 🙂 Even now that I have completed all the treatments and have been released into the maintenance (Tamoxifen) stage I still don’t consider myself a Breast Cancer survivor. I do, however, consider myself a survivor of life.
What is a survivor? According to dictionary.com a survivor is someone who:
- A person or thing that survives (Ummm, really?! thanks for that)
- A person or thing that continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks. (OK…that one is better)
The world is immersed in “Pinktober” right now and we are being blasted with pink ribbons and breast cancer from all sides. I don’t like pink…I’ve written about that. I don’t have a problem with the ribbon per se, but I do have a problem with the “Pink Ribbon Culture”. In order for all those companies to sell their products the face of breast cancer needs to be hopeful and one of overcoming…so companies like to use words like warrior and survivor. Still, I don’t have a huge problem with it. My problem comes when we pick and choose the breast cancer patients we label “survivor”. 59,000 women in North America die from breast cancer every year…and they are all stage IV metastic patients. These patients get 1 day out of the entire “Breast Cancer” awareness month…1 DAY!! And yet they are the ones that desperately need the research and a break through cure. There is no maintenance phase for them. They are some of the strongest women I have met but often they will never be labeled a “survivor”.
I won a lottery no body wants to win…I got cancer. However, once you’ve won the big bad lottery I got a bit “lucky” on my pathology. I was stage IIb, hormone positive which is considered one of the most treatable. I am absolutely a survivor through this. Would I be less of a survivor if it had spread to my liver or bones? Surviving has everything to do with my attitude and nothing to do with my pathology or even whether I will actually “survive”. Why label me a survivor and not my breast cancer sisters with metastic stage IV? It makes it seem like they are somehow doing less than me…when in fact they are facing so much more.
Nope…I’m not a Breast Cancer survivor…I am a life survivor who happened to get breast cancer…and I am absolutely 100% OK with that.