One group member recently reflected on words and phrases that she and many women with secondary breast cancer find unhelpful. She writes
On being a “Survivor”
“The other phrase I have difficulty with is “Survivor”. I personally have never referred to myself as a “Survivor”. If I ever feel the need to label myself or put myself in a category, I prefer to say that I am living my life with cancer and trying to make the most of each day. The word “Survivor” conjures up visions of someone reaching the top of Mt Everest having pushed aside all the pitfalls that the mountain has thrown at you and once you reach that pinnacle you have survived the climb and can’t be touched again by anything that may cause you to fall into the abyss. Life is not like that.”
The word, “Survivor” also means someone who has survived an arduous journey, like Jessica Watson, who sailed solo around the world. Her journey was completed but her life went on and that journey was finished. The journey of living life with cancer continues on and on with many bumps in the road. Some may never have a recurrence of the cancer but even so, the blood tests, scans, doctors’ appointments, sweaty palms and anxiety will continue.