Monday, October 20, 2014

30 days of facts, Day 20

Some of us don't want to be called "survivors".

I wasn't public about my diagnosis or surgery for quite awhile. I didn't post on Facebook until a few people 
who knew made comments that led others to start messaging and asking if I was okay. When I finally did come out and start talking about it, people would say that I was braver than them, that there was "no way" they could have done what I did. I've never understood that - what would they have done, just let the cancer take over until it killed them? The only part of "what I did" that maybe others couldn't or wouldn't is to go into surgery in a tiara. The rest is not special or heroic. I am not a survivor to be celebrated, I don't consider cancer a "gift" in any sense of the word, and I dislike the whole "battle" mentality.

...saying someone who is now cancer-free is a “survivor” conveys that he or she is somehow better than the people who didn't make it...

Think about it. If anybody ever told you that you'd voluntarily be poked, prodded, knifed, drugged or radiated, would you think you could? Nearly 12 million of us have, but just because I'm one of them does not make me a fighter or a hero. I didn't fight for my life any harder than anybody else. And I didn't volunteer to have cancer for somebody else, which might have been heroic. I simply got sick, took a lot of horrible drugs for several months, laid around most of the time I was taking them, watched my friends and family worry, and then got well. That's not heroic. It's what life handed us. And sometimes life is messy. 

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